Seattle Sounders looked to keep the winning streak alive by making it 3 in a row versus FC Dallas on a mild night in Seattle. Dallas had been red hot riding a 9 game unbeaten streak (6-0-3) and are 1st on the table comfortably with 6 points on the next in line Portland Timbers. They have been stellar this season at home (6-0-1) but haven’t showed the same strength on the road (1-1-2). Seattle was looking to heat up and keep their winning form as they are slowing moving their way up the table with another 3 points in their home match tonight.
The Sounders brought high intensity high pressure game to the first half and it paid off big. Seattle struck first and quickly with Eddie Johnson hitting his first goal of the night in the 15th minute off of a goal kick that went unchallenged and headed by Ozzie Alonso to split the defenders as Johnson ran on, brought it down and hit it into the side netting after breaking behind the Dallas defense. 15 minutes later Lamar Neagle struck for a second goal for the Sounders. Neagle earned his goal with strong work rate intercepting a pass defensively and taking off on a run to get the ball back on a through ball from Evans. Neagle would go one behind the defense one on one with the keeper and dribble around him to earn his 4th goal of the season and make it 2 consecutive games with goals. Brad Evans missed 2 big opportunities, at 33 minutes Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez made a big save in a one on one and in the 42nd minute Evans missed wide of the goal both on fast breaks served by Mario Martinez.
The top team in the MLS would not be shut out for long though and more scoring came in the second half. At 54’ Dallas earned a corner kick and capitalized on the opportunity. Kenny Cooper went un-marked in the middle of the scrum just outside the 6 yard box and it was an easy finish for the big target forward to put Dallas back in the game. This would end a 272 minute shutout streak for Michael Gspurning. Dallas would go on to score their 2 goal off of a corner kick when Michel placed a beautiful ball into the upper corner directly in from the corner service.
The Sounders answered quickly with a 3rd goal in the 62nd minute more through ball service, this time from Lamar Neagle to Eddie Johnson. Eddie went on to beat the keeper and deliver an accurate shot for his second goal of the night. It was a physical game all night but an elbow to Leo Gonzalez eye would leave him bloodied and sent Blas Perez out of the game with a red card. Center referee Mark Geiger referred to the 4th official and line judge after seeing the injury to Leo and confirmed the flagarant foul before ejecting Perez. The Sounders took advantage of the man up advantage in the 83rd minute with a right footed goal from Obafemi Martins, his third goal of his MLS career. Brad Evans played a crossing ball into Oba after receiving a deflected shot from Eddie Johnson. Obafemi Martins celebrated his goal with the usual round off to double back handspring and the stadium went nuts.
Seattle found many opportunities to get in behind tonight. They played with intensity looking to play the deep ball immediately after winning it with hard work. Lamar Neagle’s goal was a great example of this type of play. DeAndre Yedlin is proving himself to be one of the Sounders’ most dynamic and exciting players. He continues to create unique opportunities for the Sounders with his blazing speed up and down the pitch, his defending is solid state, he rarely gets beat and he is so dangerous going forward. When you have a player like Yedlin it helps the style of play the Sounders are looking to build, he can jump a pass win the ball and play directly into the attack with support creating greater numbers. With the strength at the center mid field with Alonso and Carrasco holding this gives safety in defending for our outside backs to get forward. Alonso had to leave the game with a left groin injury in the 31st minute but his replacement Shalrie Joseph played the best we’d seen of him so far this year and the Sounders didn’t really skip a beat in the mid field. Seattle had 11 shots on goal, this would set a club record breaking the previous high of 10 on June 16, 2009.
In the post-game press conference head coach Sigi Schmid spoke of the importance of this game and the game well executed, a direct style that would look to get in behind the defense. “We want to win our games at home. That’s super important. Being able to measure ourselves against a first place team in our conference is important. Being able to show that once our weapons are healthy that we can score goals on the offensive end was another important factor, as well. We’re trying to use the abilities of the guys we have. We’re using our speed so we’re attacking a little more direct. We also knew this was a team that we could be direct against-we could get behind them centrally and we did that often in the first half. We had a couple of opportunities to get more goals. They had some opportunities, as well, off their set pieces.”