CARSON, Calif. – A red card to Obafemi Martins in the second half hardly affected the Seattle Sounders as they cruised to a 2-0 victory against reeling Chivas USA on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center.
Martins scored the game-winner in the 22nd minute on a nifty, left-footed chip following a no-look pass from Lamar Neagle. It was his fourth goal of the season, tying him for the team lead with Eddie Johnson, who was away on international duty with the US men's national team.
The Sounders, coming off last week’s 4-0 loss to the LA Galaxy, certainly didn’t need any help, but they got it when Mario de Luna sent a header past Dan Kennedy for an own goal 11 minutes after Martins’ tiebreaker. The Nigerian international nearly added a second of his own when Kennedy stopped his snap header at point-blank range with five minutes remaining in the first half.
Martins was sent off in the 70th minute for a foul on Gabriel Farfan, but it was far too late for struggling Chivas USA to generate any offense in their first match since the firing of coach José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá.
Seattle (5-4-3) have earned at least one point in seven of its last eight matches.
Chivas USA (3-8-2), meanwhile, saw their winless streak reach eight games, as they were blanked for the seventh time this year. With newly appointed head coach José Luis Real not expected to arrive from Mexico until next week, club youth development director Sacha van der Most served as interim coach.
Forward Tristan Bowen nearly put the Goats on the board in the 89th minute with a right-footed strike from long range, but was turned away by goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. It was the Rojiblancos’ best opportunity on a lackluster night of offense from the home team.
Chivas USA have not won an MLS match since March 30 and have scored only three goals in that same time frame.
The clubs will meet twice more this season, with the rematches scheduled scheduled for July 28 and Sept. 4 -- both in Seattle. The Sounders return home next weekend for a matchup against Cascadia Cup rivals Vancouver Whitecaps. Chivas USA have a bye week but will travel to the East Coast for a US Open Cup fourth-round contest against the Carolina RailHawks on June 12. They will play next in the league at Vancouver on June 19.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Djimi Traore||The backline completely shut down Chivas USA and Traore was the best of the bench, a calm, steadying performance from the veteran|
|2||Obafemi Martins||Red card was a blemish, but his goal was superb and he was a threat throughout his time on the pitch, and nearly had a second|
|3||Lamar Neagle||Worked well with Martins up front, assisted on his goal and threatened to break the match open on a number of occasions|