SEATTLE - Call it confidence. Call it luck. Call it what you will, the Sounders FC has found their rhythm though.
For the first time this season, the Sounders came from behind to win, allowing a goal in the third minute before netting two before halftime and held on for a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution at CenturyLink Field.
“We’re finding different ways to win games. Today we had to come from behind. We went down 1-0, maybe we weren’t attentive enough early in the game. We had a little bit of a mental breakdown and they scored,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I felt we showed good character.”
Playing with a patchwork lineup with injuries to several regular starters, the Sounders started slow when Sainey Nyassi scored just three minutes into the match. However, Schmid never lost confidence in the team and the club stayed the course and earned their third straight win and ran their unbeaten streak to six matches.
Tyson Wahl scored his first career MLS goal and Alvaro Fernandez notched his fourth to match Brad Evans for the team lead as the Sounders improved to 8-4-7 (31 points) and will now finish the weekend second in the Western Conference behind the LA Galaxy.
“The understanding with each other is starting to get better,“ Schmid said. “More so than anything, their belief and confidence in that we’re going to find a way to win. We’re down 1-0 and we’re two or three minutes into the game, but we’re going to figure it out. We’re going to figure it out and get it done. It’s a belief that’s starting to come through. That’s important. Different guys stepped up and did what they needed to do.”
Nyassi got the Revolution to an early lead when he took a pass from Benny Feilhaber off a corner kick at the top of the box and shot it into traffic in the box. Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller got his glove to it, but it still found its way into the net for Nyassi’s first goal of the season and a 1-0 New England lead.
The Sounders weren’t about to let up though, drawing on the cheers of the 36,212 in attendance.
Even when starting defender Jeff Parke had to be taken out in the 17th minute when he was experiencing symptoms of a migraine, the Sounders continued with their gameplan and it bore fruit in the 34th minute.
Mauro Rosales was taken down 20 yards out on the right side and Wahl and Erik Friberg lined up over the free kick. Wahl took a quick approach and bent a shot around the five-man New England wall, caught Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis stone-footed and snuck its way into the top left corner for his first goal in 58 career MLS matches.
“It was sitting well for a left-footed shot. I’m not sure if Reis was out of position but I thought it was possible to hit it that side,” Wahl said. “I just tried to keep it on frame and bend it, just like a corner kick like I have been hitting those and it went in.”
Seattle didn’t stop with their 34th minute equalizer, though, and continued to press for the lead before halftime.
Rosales, playing in a forward role after having success in the Seattle midfield in recent weeks, took a long pass from Patrick Ianni and dribbled to the middle, laying off for Roger Levesque at the top of the box. Levesque touched it through to Fernandez coming up the left side and the Uruguayan midfielder shot it back across the goal to the far post. Reis got a hand to it, but not enough to keep it from putting the Sounders up 2-1 in the 40th minute.
Keller made two second-half saves - one off a Shalrie Joseph header that nearly equalized - and second-half substitute Zack Schilawski hit the crossbar late in the match, but otherwise Seattle held on tight to their lead and walked out with their third straight win.
The Sounders have a chance to reel in closer to the LA Galaxy in their next match on July 4 at the Home Depot Center, but first, they will host the Kitsap Pumas in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Tuesday night at 7 pm at Starfire in Tukwila.
Seattle has won the US Open Cup each of the last two seasons and will begin defense of the trophy in the third round on Tuesday. Kitsap has already topped El Paso Patriots and Real Colorado Foxes to reach the third round. The game will be live-streamed on SoundersFC.com.
Sounders FC - Tyson Wahl 34; Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque, Mauro Rosales) 40.
Revolution - Sainey Nyassi (Benny Feilhaber) 3.
Sounders FC - Servando Carrasco (caution) 26; Tyson Wahl (caution) 87.
Revolution - Pat Phelan (caution) 23; Ryan Cochrane (caution) 72; Rajko Lekic (caution) 78; AJ Soares (caution) 90.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke (Patrick Ianni 17), Tyson Wahl, Lamar Neagle, Servando Carrasco, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan 69), Mauro Rosales (Nate Jaqua 89), Roger Levesque.
Revolution - Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane (Zack Schilawski 81), AJ Soares, Darrius Barnes, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 62), Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Ryan Guy (Kenny Mansally 62), Rajko Lekic.