SEATTLE – On Friday night in Kingston, Jamaica, Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans scored a stoppage-time winner for the US National Team as the US topped Jamaica 2-1 in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Perhaps inspired by their teammate, the Sounders got some timely heroics from unheralded players themselves on Saturday night as they scored a 3-2 comeback win over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC to leap into fourth in the Western Conference standings at 6-4-3.
Andy Rose scored his first goal of the season and Servando Carrasco added the first of his career on a penalty as the Sounders stormed back from a 2-1 deficit to equalize late in the second half. Then Lamar Neagle scored his fourth goal of the year on an assist from Obafemi Martins to give the Sounders their fifth win in the past six games, sending the crowd of 53,679 home happy.
“We love big crowds,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid, noting Seattle’s unbeaten record when over 40,000 cross the turnstiles. “We’re able to showcase ourselves in front of people who don’t normally get to come to our games. It had a tremendous atmosphere.”
In the 9th minute, the Sounders broke through with Rose getting into the box unmarked up the right side on a ball from Neagle and popping a right-footed shot past Brad Knighton inside the far post for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 Seattle lead.
Vancouver answered right back though in the 10th minute.
Russell Teibert burst up the right side and crossed the ball to Camilo Sanvezzo at the far post and the Brazilian forward headed it back across the goal, evening the score at 1-1.
In the 26th minute, Sanvezzo added another, using his head again to put the Whitecaps up, 2-1. Teibert sent a long free kick in from the right side and Sanvezzo eluded his marker to score the lunging header for his fifth goal of the year.
“We sort of fell asleep right after we scored, which is a time when you can’t fall asleep,” Schmid said. “Set-pieces got them back into the game and were probably their most dangerous moments.”
In the 53rd minute, the Sounders called upon Michael Gspurning to keep things close. Sanvezzo powered a free kick from 27-yards out to the corner, forcing Gspurning to dive to his left to make the stop. Nigel Reo-Coker pounced on the rebound, but Gspurning got a piece of his putback attempt and it sailed high.
It looked like the Sounders would be quickly rewarded for that defensive effort too, as Obafemi Martins got into the box up the middle and was fouled by Jun Marques Davidson. However, referee Hilario Grajeda ruled that the foul occurred outside the box, awarding a free kick on the edge of the box rather than a penalty. The Sounders were unable to convert on the deep free kick and remained trailing, 2-1.
In the 69th minute, second-half substitute Greg Klazura left no doubt when he brought down Neagle in the box and Grajeda signaled for the penalty.
Carrasco stood calmly over the ball and delivered a blistering shot past Knighton for his first career MLS goal, equalizing in the 70th minute.
The Sounders then completed the comeback in the 81st minute.
Rose slipped Martins into the box up the right side and he played a quick ball to Neagle on a near-post run. Neagle wasted no time in slamming the ball in for his fourth goal of the year, hitting a one-time runner past Knighton to put the Sounders up 3-2.
“It was a good build-up play down the right side,” Neagle said. “I saw him one on one, so once he made his move toward the line to beat his guy I knew I had to get in front of my defender and it would be an easy pass right to the near post.”
That is how the match would end as the Sounders held off a late push from Vancouver, running their unbeaten streak to 39 matches at 31-0-8 when they score the first goal.
Seattle has a two-week break before returning to MLS action at Real Salt Lake on June 22.
Sounders FC – Andy Rose (Lamar Neagle) 9; Servando Carrasco (PK) 70; Lamar Neagle (Obafemi Martins, Andy Rose) 81.
Whitecaps FC – Camilo Sanvezzo (Russell Teibert, YP Lee) 10; Camilo Sanvezzo (Russell Teibert) 26.
Sounders FC – Andy Rose (caution) 52.
Whitecaps FC – Jordan Harvey (caution) 86.
Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (David Estrada 90), Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey (Marc Burch 61), Obafemi Martins, Lamar Neagle.
Whitecaps FC – Brad Knighton, YP Lee, Johnny Leveron, Andy O’Brien (Greg Klazura 62), Jordan Harvey, Nigel Reo-Coker, Jun Marques Davidson (Kekuta Manneh 83), Matt Watson (Daigo Kobayashi 89), Camilo Sanvezzo, Russell Teibert, Kenny Miller.