SEATTLE — For all the success the Seattle Sounders have seen this year, they came into Saturday’s game as the only team in MLS not to register a come-from-behind victory.
That’s no longer an issue after they erased an early 1-0 deficit and found the go-ahead goal in the 89th minute to beat Chivas USA 2-1.
“Coming from behind is something that we haven’t done this year and [we had] to show our character being able to do that,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the game. “We left a little late, but that’s important too because the team has to know that no matter how long it goes, we’re always in it to win it.”
The Sounders have long maintained that coming from behind is not ideal to begin with, so the lack of wins in that fashion was not necessarily a huge concern.
To their credit, they have only trailed in 11 of their 27 matches this season (41 percent) and have only trailed by more than one goal on three occasions. It’s also worth noting that in five of the six matches in which they eventually tied the score, they got at least a point. Last year, the Sounders led all of MLS with seven come-from-behind victories, but they also trailed in 16 games (47 percent).
“I think it’s a little bit of a fluke statistic,” Schmid said. “Last year we put ourselves behind oftentimes and then came back and scored and won games. It’s a little bit more because we had more offensive players on the field and we were a little exposed in the back. This year, we got off to a good start, we got early goals all the time, so we really didn’t have to come from behind which is the ideal thing that you want to have as a coach.”
Chivas USA weren't about to make the comeback any easier by opening it up the way they did a couple weeks ago when they met at the Home Depot Center. Robin Fraser’s side got off to a strong start and was out shooting the Sounders 6-0 shortly after taking the lead on Nick LaBrocca’s eighth-minute goal. But they bunkered in shortly after and took just one more shot all game.
Seattle still managed to create several golden opportunities, notably Steve Zakuani getting stuffed on a one-on-one chance and Brad Evans hitting the post on a wide-open volley in the 63rd minute. They didn’t break through until Fredy Montero found Eddie Johnson with a perfectly placed cross in the 89th minute.
"This was a very defensive team,” Sounders midfielder Christian Tiffert said. “If you want to win championships, you have to win such games against such teams.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.