By JASON MITCHELL
SEATTLE, WA – Seattle answered any questions about whether last week's disappointing loss to Real Salt Lake would be more than a hiccup with a resounding 3-0 win over D.C. United Saturday.
In a clash of the old guard and the new rife with both playoff and Supporters' Shield implications, Seattle (14-6-9) unleashed their characteristic attacking, aesthetically-pleasing soccer in keeping the pressure on league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy.
Mauro Rosales registered two assists and was integral to the Sounders attack throughout, continuing to make an argument for both MVP and most underpaid player in recent memory. Rosales suffered a knee injury on an 89th minute foul, and that was the biggest story of the night to Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, who was blunt in assessing the performance of referee Kevin Stott and the state of MLS refereeing as a whole.
"The league's gotta start protecting him," said Schmid. "The last two games teams have gone out there and kicked him. And I don't think the league's doing a good job of protecting him.
"We have a talented player in this league, a player who's a good player, who fans want to come and watch play, then we let thugs hit him and we don't protect him enough."
Schmid wasn't sure about the extent of the injury, but said it would definitely keep Rosales out of Tuesday's CONCACAF Champions League match against CS Herediano of Costa Rica. United defender Daniel Woolard commited the foul, which occured near midfield. Woolard had been physical with Rosales from the opening minutes.
After a chippy but uneventful opening, the Sounders did all their damage in the middle third of the match, scoring all three goals between the 35th and 60th minutes. Forward Mike Fucito opened the scoring when deft passing from Brad Evans and Mauro Rosales left him racing one-on-one toward the goal with D.C. defender Daniel Woolard. Woolard never caught up and Fucito buried the chance past goalkeeper Joe Willis.
Alvaro Fernandez scored the first of his two goals in first-half stoppage time. Receiving a pass from Montero, Rosales beautifully threaded a ball through multiple United defenders as Fernandez streaked into the penalty area and calmly banged the ball into the back-left corner of the net.
Fernandez capped the scoring in the 60th, tapping in a ball that deflected off Willis. The deflection came off a Fredy Montero header that resulted from a beautiful build-up between Osvaldo Alsonso and Mauro Rosales.
D.C. United (8-8-10) peppered Seattle's goal in the last 20 minutes, but a week after Kasey Keller committed an uncharacteristic own goal, he delivered three big second-half saves.
With five games to play, Seattle trails L.A. by seven points. D.C. United trails both the Portland Timbers and New York Red Bulls by two points, but has played two fewer games than either.
- With a sellout crowd of 36,242, Seattle has drawn an MLS record 553,987 fans with two home games remaining.
- With 12 assists, Mauro Rosales now holds the Sounders single-season record for assists. Freddie Ljungberg had 10 in 2010.
- Zach Scott earned the start in place of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who sat after receiving a straight red last week.