SEATTLE — Mauro Rosales padded his credentials for end-of-season honors with two more assists, but it came at a cost as the Seattle Sounders dispatched visiting D.C. United at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night, 3-0.
The Argentine playmaker logged his 11th and 12th assist — a Seattle franchise record — in an emphatic rout, but limped off the field in second-half stoppage time after a heavy challenge from Daniel Woolard with what the Sounders later confirmed was a sprained MCL in his right knee.
After a cagey beginning with few scoring opportunities, the game started to open up after 30 minutes. Seattle nearly broke through off a corner kick, but Fredy Montero couldn’t latch onto a flicked header at the back post. DC responded with a promising counterattack, but Joseph Ngwenya’s attempt was scooped up by Kasey Keller.
Mike Fucito opened the scoring in the 35th minute. Taking a pass from Rosales, the Seattle attacker turned the corner on Brandon McDonald to break free on United goalkeeper Joe Willis, and calmly found the left side of the net with his right foot.
DC tried to answer back through Andy Najar, who used a great individual effort in the 43rd minute to get past Tyson Wahl and Osvaldo Alonso, but Zach Scott blocked his shot on goal.
Seattle got the second goal in first-half stoppage time when Rosales found Álvaro Fernández with a sublime pass through the center of DC’s back line.
Up 2-0, Rosales put the finishing touches on the victory in the 60th minute. A majestic cross from the right side found Montero in stride. Willis made the initial save, but Fernández was there to pound in the rebound for his eighth goal of the season.
D.C. United played their first match without the influential Chris Pontius, who suffered a broken leg last week against Chivas USA. Head coach Ben Olsen used former New York Red Bull Austin da Luz on the left side, but United missed Pontius’ influence on the attack.
The victory keeps the Sounders (14-6-9) in second place in the Western Conference with FC Dallas’ loss to New York, while D.C. United (8-8-10) now face an uphill climb to make the playoffs with eight games to play.
Seattle face a short turnaround, hosting Herediano of Costa Rica on Sept. 20 in a CONCACAF Champions League play before traveling north to face Cascadia rivals Vancouver four days later.
DC, meanwhile, host Chivas USA on Sept. 21 and Real Salt Lake on Sept. 24.
SEA -- Mike Fucito 2 (Mauro Rosales 11, Brad Evans 2) 35
SEA -- Alvaro Fernandez 7 (Mauro Rosales 12, Fredy Montero 8) 47+
SEA -- Alvaro Fernandez 8 (unassisted) 60
DC -- Joseph Ngwenya (caution; Reckless Tackle) 16
SEA -- Tyson Wahl (caution; Reckless Foul) 41
DC -- Austin Da Luz (caution; Reckless Foul) 63
D.C. United -- Joe Willis, Brandon McDonald, Ethan White (Marc Burch 78), Daniel Woolard, Perry Kitchen, Austin Da Luz, Andy Najar, Clyde Simms, Dwayne De Rosario (Josh Wolff 62), Charlie Davies (Stephen King 54), Joseph Ngwenya.
Substitutes Not Used: Blake Brettschneider, Kurt Morsink, Santino Quaranta, Bill Hamid.
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Amadou Sanyang 82), Alvaro Fernandez, Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua 68), Fredy Montero (Lamar Neagle 78).
Substitutes Not Used: Leo Gonzalez, Patrick Ianni, Pat Noonan, Josh Ford.
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: Eric Boria; Anthony Vasoli
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy and 63 degrees