Fernandez, Evans on target against punchless TFC
SEATTLE — Alvaro Fernandez opened the scoring early and Brad Evans added two more as the Seattle Sounders rebounded from the Steve Zakuani injury to post a 3-0 victory over Toronto FC. Seattle turned in a dominant performance against the visitors, who posted only one shot on goal.
After earning a win in midweek in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship game, TFC saw their winless streak in league play extended to six games. The Sounders, who were without injured striker O’Brian White, ran their unbeaten streak to six games.
Injuries, including a hamstring injury to playmaker Mauro Rosales, caused Sigi Schmid to shuffle his lineup. The trio of Erik Friberg, Nate Jaqua, and Fernandez entered the lineup, with Friberg playing in the center of midfield. Meanwhile, Toronto replaced suspended midfielder Toni Tchani with Alen Stevanovic.
In front of a soldout crowd, Fernandez’ put the home team in the lead in the 9th minute. With TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei moving to cover the near post, an unmarked Fernandez got on the end of an Evans cross from the right flank and headed it home.
The goal seemed to calm the Sounders after the tumultuous week surrounding Zakuani’s broken leg and the subsequent 9-game suspension to Colorado Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan. And two minutes after the goal, the Sounders fans executed an organized tribute to Zakuani, holding up placards with the number 11 and chanting his name.
With the early momentum firmly in the Sounders’ favor, TFC attempted to wrest some control of the game but had difficulty getting the ball out of their own end. Stevanovic provided most of Toronto’s bright moments, including an insightful pass to Javier Martina that nearly resulted in a breakaway goal. However, that was as close as the Reds came before the halftime break.
In the second half, Frei did his best to keep TFC in the match, making good saves on Fredy Montero and Evans. However, the netminder could only do so much as Seattle looked destined to score again.
And in the 52nd minute Evans did just that, running onto a Montero pass and firing a shot to the left side that Frei could only get his hands on but not stop. Evans then added his third goal of the season from the penalty spot after referee Ricardo Salazar whistled Mikael Yourrasowsky for a handball in the box.
The three points keep Seattle in third place in the West with two matches ahead of them this week. They travel to D.C. United on Wednesday night and then play at the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
Toronto meanwhile remain in 7th place in the East. They will attempt to regroup at BMO Field next Saturday against the Houston Dynamo.
SEA -- Alvaro Fernandez 2 (Brad Evans 1, James Riley 1) 9
SEA -- Brad Evans 2 (Fredy Montero 2, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 1) 52
SEA -- Brad Evans 3 (penalty kick) 75
Seattle Sounders – Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Brad Evans,Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 66), Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 72), Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 80).
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman, Julian de Guzman(Nathan Sturgis 57), Maicon Santos (Mikael Yourassowsky 46), Jacob Peterson, Javier Martina, Alan Gordon, Alen Stevanovic (Matt Gold 62).
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Persistent Infringement) 45
TOR -- Julian de Guzman (caution; Reckless Tackle) 54
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Peter Manikowski; Jeff Muschik
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Time of Game: 1:49
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-56-degrees