SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders survived an aggressive first-half push from a shorthanded FC Dallas squad Saturday night before riding a dominant second half that featured goals from Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins and Leo Gonzalez to a 3-0 victory at CenturyLink Field.
It was the seventh goal of the season for Martins, who entered the game as a second-half substitute and sported a protective facemask to shield his fractured nose that caused him to miss Seattle's last game. Gonzalez, meanwhile, picked up his first goal since 2010 for the Sounders, much to the delight of the Sounders bench and home crowd.
With the bounce-back win, following their loss to Sporting Kansas City last weekend, Seattle take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race with 29 points from 15 games. FC Dallas, the early pace-setter in the Western Conference, are now winless in their last five matches, keeping them in a three-way tie for fourth place with 22 points from 15 games.
FCD had two golden opportunities to take the lead in the first half but narrowly missed converting both. The first came in the 28th minute after Fabian Castillo freed himself in the Seattle penalty box with a nifty move to streak by Seattle’s Zach Scott on a counterattack. FCD’s star midfielder had a clean look on goal, but his laser shot bounced off the post and was cleared away.
The next came soon after in the 31st minute after Dallas midfielder Kyle Bekker had a point-blank look on goal after receiving a pass from forward Blas Perez. But Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei laid out fully to his right to deny Bekker of the go-ahead goal and preserve the scoreless halftime deadlock.
The Sounders broke through in the 56th minute after Brad Evans, a halftime substitute, won a tackle and found forward Neagle outside FCD’s penalty box. Neagle then unleashed a rocket shot from 25 yards out that found its way past a diving Dan Kennedy and settled into the Dallas net, giving the Sounders the 1-0 advantage.
Seattle added their first insurance tally in the 73rd after Martins took a pass from Andy Rose and somehow muscled his shot by Kennedy despite having Bekker draped on his back.
The Sounders slammed the door in the 90th minute after Gonzalez tucked away a cross from Neagle, sparking a raucous celebration in honor of the beloved veteran, who had just one career goal before Saturday night’s tally.
The Sounders next play host to rival Portland Timbers in a Tuesday US Open Cup match. FC Dallas also have an USOC match next up, Tuesday at home against USL side OKC Energy FC.