SEATTLE — In a game that had "draw" written all over it, an 89th-minute own-goal by Gonzalo Segares proved to be the deciding score as the Seattle Sounders eked past the Chicago Fire 2-1 on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.
The two teams traded first-half goals and weren't generating many chances in the second half. But in the waning minutes of regulation, Lamar Neagle gave a leading pass to Zach Scott, who was streaking in on the left side. Scott's centering ball failed to find its intended target, Andy Rose, but it hit off Segares and found the back of the net. Neagle had also scored the Sounders' first goal.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the Fire, who had gone 4-1-2 in their past seven and were closing in on the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Fire had grabbed an early lead on Mike Magee's league-leading 15th goal and were able to preserve it a bit longer after Sean Johnson saved an Osvaldo Alonso penalty.
Magee's 26th minute goal came off a feed from Dilly Duka, as he slotted it past Michael Gspurning. The goal also ended Seattle's season-long 316-minute shutout streak and marked the first goal they had allowed at home since July 28.
That made up for an earlier chance from Chris Rolfe, who got an open look inside the penalty are in the sixth minute that Gspurning was able to save.
The Sounders had a golden opportunity to tie the score just a few minutes later when Bakary Soumare was whistled for a hand ball in the penalty area off a Mauro Rosales corner kick. But Johnson made the correct choice on Alonso's penalty attempt, diving to his right to make the save on the well struck kick. The Sounders had not missed a penalty since 2011. Johnson has now made five penalty saves in his career, but this was his first of 2013.
Seattle finally broke through in the 40th minute on Neagle's seventh goal of the season. Obafemi Martins — making his first appearance since Aug. 10 — was able to control the ball and then split a pair of defenders before switching the field to Rosales, who took a couple dribbles and floated in a cross to the far post. Johnson came off his line to clear it, but couldn't get it past Marc Burch, who then was able to find an open Neagle in front of the goal.
The Sounders (14-8-4) now occupy the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference, two points behind Real Salt Lake with two games still in hand, setting up a top-of-the-table matchup with RSL on Friday. The Fire (10-11-5) remain two points behind the Houston Dynamo for the No. 5 spot in the East. Chicago next head to Canada on Wednesday night to take on Toronto FC.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Lamar Neagle||Seattle's top performer played with great pace, and put in his club's lone goal.|
|2||Mike Magee||Despite playing just a half, coming off due to an injury, the Fire striker helped the offense tally its only goal.|
|3||Sean Johnson||Chicago's 'keeper stopped a PK and made a number of solid plays in the nets. Was a tough-luck loser.|