SEATTLE - There was a decidedly different feel to the Sounders FC locker room after their meeting with the New England Revolution Saturday night at Qwest Field.
On the heels of a six-game stretch that saw them score just two goals and go 1-4-1 in MLS play, they sprung to life with a 3-0 win over the Revolution in front of a crowd of 36,344 - the largest Sounders attendance for an MLS game. That vitality was present in postgame as well.
Kasey Keller was offering answers to questions directed at Leo Gonzalez with a celebratory grin. Sigi Schmid was making cracks about the tremendous shot disparity - noting that the club had decidedly won that category throughout much of their slow stretch.
“It’s one of those games again, I see we outshot them 19-2, so again we created chances but they didn’t...oh, I can change the story. I got used to saying the same thing all the time,” the Sounders FC head coach laughed.
Leo Gonzalez scored his first of the season and Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero each added their fourth while Kasey Keller kept his fourth clean sheet of the season as the Sounders improved to 4-5-3 to keep pace in the Western Conference.
“We played good attacking soccer, which we always want to do. We want to be an entertaining team. We’re able to win at home and now it’s a matter of continuing to refine what we’re doing, getting to know each other better in this system of play and even finishing off more opportunities,” Schmid said. “It was nice to break out and get three goals.”
Gonzalez got the Sounders out to a quick start when he scored in the fifth minute. Taking the ball up the left side on a pass from Montero, Gonzalez passed to Zakuani, but Zakuani overstepped a cutback and the ball spilled to Gonzalez on the left side of the box. He blasted a left-footed shot into the far corner of the net for his first goal in the MLS, giving the Sounders FC a 1-0 lead.
His confidence continued to spike throughout the rest of the game as he paired with Zakuani to shut down the Revolution’s attacking right side.
Zakuani added to that lead in the 24th minute smashing in a volley from the top of the box.
Zakuani had missed on two other goal-scoring opportunities - a one-on-one with Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and another previous volley - and wasn’t about to make it a third. Montero took a quick throw-in to Brad Evans in the middle of the box and Evans lobbed it back to Zakuani 16 yards out and Zakuani crashed it in for his fourth goal of the season, putting the Sounders up 2-0.
Montero added insurance in the 42nd minute, toying with the New England defense on a bouncing ball through the box before blasting it past his marker and Shuttleworth for his fourth goal of the year and a 3-0 Sounders lead.
They maintained a steady stream of pressure in the second half and kept the always-dangerous Shalrie Joseph off the ball, holding New England to just two shots for the game, only one of which was on frame.
The Sounders remain tied for sixth place in the Western Conference, but are just two points removed from fourth place with one game to play Thursday night against DC United before the league goes on an extended break for the World Cup.
“We put a lot on our plate with these last two games at home, we’ve got DC coming in on Thursday we wanted to get our record to .500 before we go on the break,” Schmid said. “We want to make this a tough place for teams to play, I think we made it that way tonight so it does a lot for our spirit, it does a lot for our confidence, it just does an awful lot for the morale and it was good to win and score some fine goals.”
Sounders FC - Leo Gonzalez (Steve Zakuani) 5; Zakuani (Brad Evans, Fredy Montero) 24; Montero (Pat Noonan, Gonzalez) 42.
Revolution - None.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Tyrone Marshall, Leo Gonzalez (Taylor Graham 90), Freddie Ljungberg (Sanna Nyassi 88), Patrick Ianni, Brad Evans, Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque 81), Steve Zakuani.
Revolution - Bobby Shuttleworth, Kevin Alston, Pat Phelan (Emmanuel Osei 46), Cory Gibbs, Chris Tierney, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 59), Joseph Niouky, Shalrie Joseph, Marko Perovic, Zack Schilawski, Kenny Mansally (Edgaras Jankauskas 46).