Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By JUSTIN FERGUSON
After a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the Galaxy and a Third Round exit in the U.S. Open Cup, the Seattle Sounders headed back to Los Angeles needing a win to avoid falling back into another slump.
On Saturday night, they got back to their winning ways with a 2-0 win at struggling Chivas USA.
Obafemi Martins, who received a questionable red card midway through the second half, opened the scoring for Seattle in the 22nd minute. Eleven minutes later, Chivas doubled the Sounders’ lead with one of the worst own goals in recent memory.
The hosts, playing in their first game of the season without former head coach José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá, failed to capitalize on their offensive chances in their fifth straight MLS loss and seventh goalless effort. Tristan Bowen came close to pulling one back for the Goats late, but his 89th minute effort was stopped by Seattle’s Michael Gspurning.
The Sounders, who were missing Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans and Shalrie Joseph, found the back of the net on their first shot of the match. A swift no-look pass from Mario Martinez sent Martins through on goal, and the Nigerian striker beat Dan Kennedy on a perfectly placed chip shot.
The Chivas offense continued their attack after the opener, but one of their own defenders would find the back of the net—the one belonging to teammate Kennedy. A Mauro Rosales cross intended for Martins only found the head of Chivas’s Mario De Luna. The defender tried to play a header back to his goalkeeper, but Kennedy was frozen as De Luna sent in an inexplicable own goal.
Seattle took control of the match after the second goal, and controversy towards the end of the match did not put the visitors in much danger.
After getting tangled up with Gabriel Farfan after a hard challenge, Martins appeared to clip Farfan’s head while trying to step over him. Referee Ricardo Salazar immediately pulled out the red card—his fifth in five matches involving the Sounders.
However, the red card did not damage Seattle’s two-goal lead, and besides Bowen’s close shot late, the Sounders were able to see out the shutout with ease.
Seattle (5-4-3) will be back home next Saturday for a match against Cascadia Cup rivals Vancouver. Chivas’s (3-8-2) next MLS match is also against the Whitecaps, but the Goats face the Carolina RailHawks in the U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round before the trip to Vancouver on June 19.