SEATTLE – The Sounders FC has shown to be an explosive team throughout the 2012 campaign, scoring more goals than all but four teams in the league throughout the regular season.
On Sunday, in a 3-1 win over FC Dallas in the final regular season home match of the season, they showed patience as well in improving to 15-7-11 on the season.
Throughout the evening they created offensive chances through persistent buildup and explosive finishing as Brad Evans netted his second multi-goal game in a Sounders uniform and Mauro Rosales scored to cap a two-assist night for Fredy Montero.
It also marked the second time in four years the team has earned a victory with assistant coach Brian Schmetzer leading the charge for the Sounders. With head coach Sigi Schmid serving a one-game suspension on Sunday, Schmetzer sat in the lead chair on the bench and pushed all the right buttons.
“I certainly think I’ve touched or been involved with the group from top to bottom, and I think that’s what I’m feeling right now. I’m proud of those guys for coming through and making sure we really did our jobs tonight and made it into the second or third place and we control our destiny here with our last game,” said Schmetzer, who topped the Houston Dynamo 2-1 in his only other match serving as head coach for the Sounders. “For me to win another game, it’s just a pretty good feeling.”
The Sounders opened scoring in the 32nd minute when Evans scored on a penalty kick – just the second of the season for Seattle and first since March 23.
The penalty came when a long ball was played to Eddie Johnson and he headed a pass to Montero on the edge of the box. Montero carried it into the box with some fine footwork, then was pulled down from behind by Hernan Pertuz for the penalty.
Evans struck a hard penalty shot to goalkeeper Kevin Hartman’s left, while Hartman dove to his right and Evans put it away for his third goal of the season and a 1-0 Sounders lead.
In the 40th minute, FC Dallas found the equalizer when David Ferreira played a free kick into the box that was knocked down to Blas Perez, who blasted it into the open net for his ninth goal of the season, ending Seattle’s shutout streak at 370 consecutive minutes, evening the tally at 1-1.
The second half was all Sounders though.
They put that patience on display with textbook build-ups and great finishing to put the game away with two goals.
In the 60th minute, Montero led Christian Tiffert up the left side with a quick-strike attack. Tiffert sent a cross to Evans in the middle of the box where he collected it and fired past Hartman for his second goal of the night and fourth of the season, giving Seattle the 2-1 lead.
“Anytime a team throws that many guys forward you are going to have good build-ups. Especially with the type of team that we are, and with our skill at counter attacking, we knew that we were going to have some good build-ups today,” Evans said. “For us it happens every game. It is just about making the right runs. There was a lot of unselfish play tonight, and we benefited from that tonight.”
The game was truly put out of reach in the 79th minute when Mauro Rosales netted his third goal of the season.
Rosales started the play, taking a centering pass and laying it off to Johnson, who sent a crisp ball to Montero up the left side of the box. Montero charged at Hartman, forcing him to commit to the shot, then he snuck a pass to Rosales at the far post for a sliding shot that extended the lead to 3-1.
“We knew we were going to have the space to play because they were going to go forward for the win. They opened the space for us and finally we scored three goals today,” Rosales said. “It was the perseverance of the team to be patient in any part of the game. We knew we were going to have the space and we did a good job controlling the ball in the last part of the game.”
The win assures the Sounders of finishing either second or third in the Western Conference and that they will meet Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semifinals for the second straight season.
In the meantime, though, they will play host to Marathon from Honduras in the final match of the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field before playing their final match of the regular season on Sunday at the Home Depot Center against the LA Galaxy.
For the time being, those matches are the focus for the Sounders.
“It was a good way to close out our home stand at the end of the season. I think this is one of the most important games of the season so far,” Evans said. “We made a statement and if we play well next Sunday I think we give ourselves a good chance going into the playoffs.”
Sounders FC – Brad Evans (PK) 32; Brad Evans (Christian Tiffert, Fredy Montero) 60; Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson) 79.
FC Dallas – Blas Perez 40.
Sounders FC – Christian Tiffert (caution) 45; Mauro Rosales (caution) 72.
FC Dallas – None.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Mauro Rosales (Andy Rose 83), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Christian Tiffert (David Estrada 89), Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, Hernan Pertuz, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez, Daniel Hernandez (Carlos Rodriguez 81), Andrew Jacobson, Fabian Castillo, Ricardo Villar (Scott Sealy 74), David Ferreira, Blas Perez.