SEATTLE – On a perfect afternoon in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Sounders pulled out a thrilling 2-1, comeback victory against Chivas USA behind a brace from Eddie Johnson, including an 89th-minute nod to snatch all three points.
The Sounders were a clear favorite entering the Saturday afternoon match, losing only once in their last 10 games, while Chivas hadn’t won in their previous five. However, it was the visitors who struck first in the 8th minute, punishing a lethargic Sounders side in front of 38,934 fans at CenturyLink Field.
Good movement from Chivas and poor defending by Seattle opened up space at the edge box for Shalrie Joseph. The Grenadian slipped short pass through to Nick LaBrocca, who turned and placed the ball into the bottom far corner.
The response wasn’t immediate from Seattle, but it was steady. After the Chivas goal, the Sounders slowly regained the run of play and we rewarded in the 28th minute. Steve Zakuani drew a free kick on the left side of the penalty box, 10 yards from the corner flag. Seattle’s German Designated Player, Christian Tiffert, whipped the free kick toward the back post for Eddie Johnson. The athletic forward rose over his defender to head into the far corner and level the score.
The Sounders started the second half much more alertly than they did the first. In the 57th minute, it seemed certain like they would take the lead after Johnson was released down the left channel. After multiple step-overs, Johnson chipped a delicate pass to the back post, where Brad Evans was arriving all alone. Evans, two steps from the goalline, hit the ball with his first touch off of the far post to record a shocking miss.
Just as it looked like the two teams would share the points, the Sounders' in-form forwards combined to grab the win. A precise pass from Alex Caskey toward the left corner for Fredy Montero opened things up, and the Colombian beat two Chivas defenders to the ball and swung a precise left-footed cross in front of the Chivas goal. His strike partner was there to power a header past the scrambling goalkeeper for a dramatic winner, Johnson's 13th on the year to set a club record for goals scored in a single season.
OPTA Chalkboard: Sounders dominate the ball, snatch late goal
The victory is the Sounders’ first comeback win of 2012. The three points puts Seattle in second place in the Western Conference, a point ahead of Real Salt Lake, with two games still in hand. The Sounders next travel south to face Portland on Sept. 15.
Chivas USA, meanwhile, remain in eighth place in the Western Conference. They next host San Jose – who clinched a playoff spot with the Goats' loss – also on Sept. 15.