SEATTLE - The Sounders FC felt like they were due for a performance like this.
With a charged crowd of 36,287 in attendance at Qwest Field, the Sounders put on the show they’ve been on the cusp of presenting all season and they walked off with their hands raised in a 3-0 victory over Toronto FC.
“I think it could have been more than three. There were some good chances out there and I’m just proud of the way the guys played,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “It was nice to have a 3-0 win at home … a great way to spend your weekend.”
The win came on an emotional day for the Sounders as the club and supporters honored Steve Zakuani, who suffered a broken right tibia and fibula in a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on a horrendous tackle just one week earlier. The fans in attendance did their part to pay tribute, raising “11” placards when the clock showed 11:00 and chanting Zakuani’s name. With Zakuani and O’Brian White, who had surgery on Wednesday to treat a blood clot in his leg, out of the lineup, Sigi Schmid was forced to alter the lineup and the team responded in energetic fashion.
Brad Evans had two goals and an assist and Kasey Keller recorded his second consecutive shutout to lift Seattle to 3-2-3 and extend their unbeaten streak to six matches.
“Right now, defensively, I think we're doing a good job,” Schmid said. “We really put an emphasis on it a couple weeks ago, that we wanted to get shutouts, before the Philly game, and we've been able to come up with some.”
With an inspired energy throughout the lineup, Alvaro Fernandez got the Sounders on the board in the ninth minute.
The Sounders pinned the weary visitors into their own end on the left side and earned a corner kick that threatened to put them into the lead. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Evans both had efforts off the corner kick turned away, but James Riley regained possession and pushed it back to Evans on the right side. He then sent a long cross to Fernandez at the far post and he headed it back across the face of Stefan Frei and into the net for his second goal of the season.
Seattle continued to put the pressure on Frei, but went into the halftime break with just the 1-0 lead. Regrouping in the intermission, the Sounders seemingly doubled up their efforts in the second half. The result was eight shots on goal in the second half while they ran away with the 3-0 win.
Evans notched his second goal of the season in the 52nd minute, charging up the right side to take a pass from Fredy Montero, then hammering it past Frei.
Hurtado and Osvaldo Alonso combined to start the play by taking the ball clean off the feet of Julian de Guzman. Hurtado passed it off to Montero, who found Evans for the first-time shot.
They weren’t content there, though and added a third in the 75th minute. Friberg sent a corner kick into the box that bounced into the arm of Mikael Yourassowsky, giving Seattle their first penalty kick of the season.
Evans stepped to the mark and knocked it to Frei’s left while the Toronto keeper guessed to the right.
“It was good,” Evans said. “I thought for the team overall, just a good push going forward. We have two tough road games coming up so it was vital to get the three points at home right now.”
It was the first multi-goal game for Evans on his career and he matched his 2009 total with his third goal of the season. He finished the night with six shots, putting three of them on target, to lead the team, while playing on the right side of midfield.
“Brad’s played on the right before, he’s comfortable out there. He’s a good crosser of the ball as he showed on the first goal and he finished his goal he was unlucky not to get a couple more,” Schmid said. “I thought he and Fernandez, both as wide players tucking in, did a good job for us.”
The Sounders will take their six-game unbeaten streak on the road for matches against DC United and the Columbus Crew. They start the trip at RFK Stadium against DC on Wednesday and will proceed to Crew Stadium to face Columbus on Saturday.
With 12 points, the Sounders now sit third in the MLS Western Conference, behind the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake.
Sounders FC - Alvaro Fernandez (Brad Evans, James Riley) 9; Brad Evans (Fredy Montero, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado); Brad Evans (PK) 75.
Toronto FC - None.
Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 45.
Toronto FC - Julian de Guzman (caution) 54.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 80), Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 66), Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 72).
Toronto FC - Stefan Frei, Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman, Julian de Guzman (Nathan Sturgis 57), Maicon Santos (Mikael Yourassowsky 46), Jacob Peterson, Javier Martina, Alan Gordon, Alen Stevanovic (Matt Gold 62).