CARSON, Calif. – The Seattle Sounders crushed Chivas USA in their regular-season finale on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center, 3-1, a match that was marred by a first-half injury to Sounders star midfielder Mauro Rosales.
Álvaro Fernández and Sammy Ochoa tallied for the Seattle, who opened the scoring via an own-goal by Andy Boyens, while Víctor Estupiñán added Chivas' only goal.
Rosales was injured in the fifth minute when Ben Zemanski came in hard and late on a tackle, a play that resulted in a yellow card for the Rojiblancos’ d-mid. Knee-to-knee contact left Rosales on the ground for several minutes in visible pain before being stretchered off and replaced by Roger Levesque in the 10th minute.
Although Chivas eventually went down in a rout, it was nearly Chivas that took the lead in the third minute when Juan Pablo Ángel beat Kasey Keller after an unlocking through-ball by Alejandro Moreno. However, the Colombian was judged to be offside on the play.
With Rosales on the bench, the first half took on a somber tone as neither side created many quality chances. Chivas USA threatened the Sounders only once with a 30th-minute strike from defender David Júnior Lopes that skidded to the left of Keller's net.
Seattle, meanwhile, appeared to take the half to gather themselves, then came out trucking in the second half.
They drew first blood in the 53rd minute when Boyens misplayed a clearance after some nice build-up by the Sounders’ attack. After a clever chip from James Riley found Fredy Montero in the box, Boyens took it off Montero’s foot but back-heeled it past Dan Kennedy into the back of the Chivas net in the process. Boyens had entered the match as a substitute for defender Heath Pearce, who was pulled due to an apparent injury.
Seattle doubled their lead in the 68th minute when Brad Evans fired a looping cross over the defense to Fernández. The Uruguayan international then expertly curled an early shot past Kennedy, tallying his ninth of the season. The Sounders scored their third in the 73rd minute when Southern California native Ochoa headed in a cross from Montero past the diving Kennedy.
The Rojiblancos were able to pull one back in the 83rd minute. Estupiñán capitalized after some Chivas hustle kept a cross from going over the endline, capping the sequence by heading past Keller. The goal was the Ecuadorian rookie's first of his MLS career.
The match was also the final regular season match for Keller, who is retiring at the end of the year. Keller will have at least two more matches in his illustrious career as the Sounders (18-7-9, 63 points) must now prepare for the Western Conference playoffs next weekend at Real Salt Lake.
Head coach Sigi Schmid didn't offer a prediction as to whether or not Rosales would be available for the series against RSL, but suggested that the injury was not as severe as a September knee injury that kept Rosales out for a month.
Meanwhile Chivas USA end their season with an 8-14-12 record (36 points), good for eighth place in the Western Conference.
SEA -- own goal (Andrew Boyens) 53
SEA -- Alvaro Fernandez 9 (Brad Evans 5) 68
SEA -- Sammy Ochoa 2 (Fredy Montero 9, Roger Levesque 3) 73
CHV -- Victor Estupinan 1 (Andrew Boyens 1, Mariano Trujillo 2) 83
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez (Tyson Wahl 81), Alvaro Fernandez, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales (Roger Levesque 10), Mike Fucito (Sammy Ochoa 64), Fredy Montero.
Substitutes Not Used: Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle, Zach Scott, Bryan Meredith.
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Zarek Valentin, Heath Pearce (Andrew Boyens 46), David Junior Lopes, Ante Jazic (Mariano Trujillo 56), Alejandro Moreno, Blair Gavin, Nick LaBrocca, Ben Zemanski, Juan Pablo Angel (Victor Estupinan 75), Marcos Mondaini.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Cortez, Jorge Flores, Michael Lahoud, Zach Thornton.
CHV -- Ben Zemanski (caution; Reckless Tackle) 5
SEA -- Roger Levesque (caution; Reckless Foul) 40
SEA -- Brad Evans (caution; Dissent) 79
SEA -- Fredy Montero (caution; Lack of Respect for Game) 80
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Cloudy and 60 degrees