Second-half rally lifts streaking Sounders over FC Dallas

SoundersFCvsFCDallas-1-4

Photo by Jane Gershovich/JaneG. Photography

By JASON MITCHELL

SEATTLE– Just call them the comeback kids.

After falling behind 1-0 early to visiting FC Dallas on Wednesday night, the Seattle Sounders once again delivered late magic.

With the score tied 1-1 in the 88th minute, Obafemi Martins collected a pass just outside the penalty area, spun on defender Matt Hedges, and found late substitute Kenny Cooper as he charged past the penalty spot. Cooper, who spent five seasons with Dallas, easily beat goalkeeper Raul Fernandez for the 2-1 win in front of 38,489 at CenturyLink Field.

It was Martins’ second assist of the match, his league-leading sixth assist of the season, and Seattle’s fifth-straight win.

“I’m here to help score goals as a team,” Martins said. “Today, in the second half we deserved to win because we kept going. We were losing and everything, but we just kept going. We knew we could get a point, but now we’re happy with three.”

It was Seattle’s fourth come-from-behind victory in its last five matches, and all four game-winning goals have come after the 80th minute.

“They have a great belief in themselves,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said about his players. “One-nothing for us is nothing. We can battle back from that.”

Hedges got his head on a cross from Michel as stoppage time wound down, but failed to put the ball on frame.

Trailing for much of the night after giving up a penalty-kick goal in the 16th minute, the Sounders equalized just after the hour-mark.

In the 62nd minute, Martins found Neagle making a hard run to the near-post in front of defender Zach Lloyd. Stepping into the six-yard box as the cross approached, Neagle slipped a one-touch shot between Fernandez and the post to tie the match at 1-1.

“If we get [Martins] on the ball,” said Schmid, “or if we get Dempsey on the ball in the final 20, 25 yards of the field, it’s problems for the opponent.”

Only stellar goalkeeping from Fernandez kept the Sounders from taking the lead earlier. In the 68th minute, Fernandez first dove to his left to slap a long-distance Osvaldo Alonso shot off the post, then somehow managed to toe away Clint Dempsey’s short-range attempt off the rebound.

Despite bunkering for much of the match, Dallas took the early lead thanks to a Michel penalty kick.

In the 16th minute, Brad Evans tangled legs with Blas Perez in the penalty area, and referee Baldomero Toledo awarded the penalty. Michel easily beat goalkeeper Stefan Frei, burying a shot into the left corner before Frei even moved. It was Michel’s fourth goal in four matches against the Sounders.

Evans vehemently protested the call, and hadn’t softened his tone after his post-match shower.

“He just falls like a sack of [excrement] on the ground,” Evans said about Perez. “And that’s pretty typical of him. That’s how he plays. Don’t expect anything else. [I] should have known better, though, just to kind of stay out of his way and let him bring the ball down.”

It was the sixth goal the Sounders have allowed in the first 20 minutes this season.

“It goes without saying we’d obviously like to not go down 1-0,” said Schmid. “That would be nice.”

“It’s getting kind of old,” added Neagle, “having to come from behind. Hopefully we can kind of change the tune next game.”

The first half was a choppy, chippy, foul- and card-filled 45 minutes. Toledo called 19 first-half fouls—13 on Dallas alone—and issued two first-half yellows to each team.

Seattle (7-2-1, 22 points) holds the best record in the league, and is undefeated since rallying to tie the Portland Timbers on April 5. In just 10 matches, the Sounders have scored game-winning goals in the 81st, 84th, 85th, 88th, and 94th minutes, and scored the tying goal against the Timbers in the 87th minute.

Dallas (5-4-1, 16 points) began the season 4-0-1, but has now lost three matches in a row and four of its last five. After losing at home 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, FC Dallas traveled more than 1,500 miles to Seattle to play on just two days’ rest. Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja was also missing midfield impresario Mauro Diaz to injury and Je-Vaughn Watson to suspension.

“That’s the way the schedule was set and so we play with the boys that are healthy and the boys that can come in and do the job,” Pareja said.

Despite the lack of rest and despite being so shorthanded, the visitors defended well for most of the night, keeping the Sounders off the scoreboard for more than an hour while absorbing 19 shots.

The penalty-kick goal, however, was one of only two shots FC Dallas managed to put on target despite playing against a makeshift Seattle back line featuring Zach Scott at center back and Brad Evans at left back.

“We knew they were going to push,” said Dallas midfielder Andrew Jacobson, “they’re at home. We were in a good position going into the second half, but we knew they were going to push. They have a lot of talented guys, so it was no surprise.”

Wednesday night’s match was the second time the two sides have met in the last four weeks. The Sounders defeated Dallas 3-2 on April 12 in Frisco, Texas. The teams play for a third and final time at Toyota Stadium on Sept. 24.

Looking forward, the Sounders play the Revolution (4-3-2, 14 points) in New England on Sunday. FC Dallas visits the San Jose Earthquakes (1-3-3, 6 points) on Saturday.

Here are the match highlights:

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39 Responses to Second-half rally lifts streaking Sounders over FC Dallas

  1. Fahq says:

    Do not score first on the Sounders this season!

  2. Kenny Cooper's Dad says:

    I really think this performance lifts my son into the conversation for a spot on the plane to Brazil. Anyone need an autographed Plymouth Argyle jersey?

  3. Dace says:

    Another game that I didn’t get to watch, but from the highlights it looked like Cooper may have been offside for the winner.

    Loyd slept on Neagle for the first for sure, great runs on both the goals. Didn’t know Evans is such a cry baby, it’s not news that Central Americans go down easy. Say what you want about Blas, but he’s not one to dive. If he’s going down, there was contact.

    Doubt is starting to creep in, I think…hopefully we can roll over the quakes and get some mojo back.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      If you watched the MLS highlights they should nothing. At the game it didn’t even seem close to offsides. He was close to behind the ball when the pass was made.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      I really like Yedlin, but the kid is starting to worry me. He is really, really fast…and that is the problem: his speed covers a host of sins. When he plays against fast opponents and/or gets a little older and loses a bit of speed, what will he have then? If I were Sigi, I’d make him practice with a 20-lb pack on his back. Slow him down, force him to learn how to play without a speed advantage.

      It was good to see Pappa finally starting to integrate into the offense.

      • Fahq says:

        Spot on about Yedlin. Hoping more experience will be the answer, but a weight vest is a great idea.

    • Increase says:

      Blas is a something of a dirty player but it tends to come out in Very Very physical play rather than dives.

    • bgix says:

      I Frame-by-Framed the Cooper goal, and he was no worse than level with the last player or the ball until Obi’s service. And I didn’t see anyone (including FCD players) raise their hand afterwards. Cooper lost his mark pure and simple.

      There was definite contact between Brad’s feet and Blas’, but not enough to tip Blas over. And it was definitely in the box. The Ref made the call behind the play, but to his credit, he did consult with the Linesman before affirming the Penalty. With super-slo-mo, I would have reversed the penalty call, but then we would have to have replays, and no one wants that. (OK, nobody *sane* wants that). I would have preferred that the Linesman (with the better view) had called off the penalty, but it is what it is.

      Is Blas a sack of ****? No, he just falls over like one.

      • bgix says:

        Save of the year, so far, for Raul Fernandez for the Double Alonso-Dempsey attempt in the 68′

      • Dustin says:

        The ref made the call behind the play? Could he have been IN FRONT of the play? He wasn’t out of position at all.

    • Austin from Austin says:

      As I diehard Dallas fan, I have to disagree. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen him play a game and not dive. I want to despise him for it, but his consistent cheating gets us plenty of goals, so I kind of just shrug and don’t stop people from calling him out. He’s a great striker when he wants to play, but he’s always playing against the referee just as much as he plays against the other team.

      This particular instance, however, was a clear penalty – OF COURSE he sells the sh*t out of the contact, especially when you consider the way Toledo was calling the game. Evans is butthurt that he let Blas get him like that, that’s all.

      • Dace says:

        I would think that being a physical, hold-up striker and a diver are mutually exclusive. One can’t be an effective hold up striker if they go down when the defense looks at them sideways.

        I’m not trying to say that he doesn’t embellish, a good player knows when he can get the foul…but diving isn’t in his repertoire.

        • Fahq says:

          Eddie Johnson joins Blas in that club. Built like an ox, topples over like a leaf.

  4. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    I think Evans should go to Brazil. Not starting, but I think he is good enough at back to deserve a spot.

    There you go, never thought I would say that. I actually wanted my Sounders to trade him in the offseason, because right back was already taken…but he can play left back too.

    • William the Terror says:

      Respectfully, the only people on the plane to Brazil with “Brad” in their names should be Brad Guzan and Michael Bradley. No Davis. No Evans.

    • John says:

      My right back depth chart would be Cameron, Fabian, Parkhurst, Beltran, Chandler, Yedlin, then maybe Evans

    • The Trialist says:

      If nothing else Evans has won quote of the year for his observation of Blas Perez.

      Dallas played very cynically last night. Felt like I was watching San Jose.

  5. Brian S. says:

    I know it’s early in the season and a lot will change but right now, the MVP race has to be neck & neck between Martins and Dempsey. If it wasn’t for the World Cup, the numbers they would put up could be the MLS version of Sturridge / Suarez.

    • Benjamin C. says:

      As a neutral observer, I love watching Seattle now that Dempsey and Martins are playing so well together. They seem to have great chemistry, play off of each other well, and basically look like they enjoy being on the field with each other. That being said, I think Dempsey has a comfortable lead at the moment in the MVP race; of course, things could change, but he has been absolutely scintillating, and the entire squad seems to feed off of his play and confidence. Basically, there is a belief and a swagger to both Deuce and, consequently, the Sounders.

      • Fahq says:

        First time I’ve ever been slightly disappointed the World Cup is happening! The Sounders are playing the most fun to watch soccer in the MLS in a long time. Maybe ever?

        • Benjamin C. says:

          There is little wonder in the fact that Seattle and Real Salt Lake are the two best teams in MLS right now. They are very talented, play well together, and are awesome to watch.

  6. milbo says:

    “Irresistible, irrepressible, and almost inevitable.”

  7. TheFrenchOne says:

    Jozy would get shredded if he had missed Deuce’s sitter…

    • bryan says:

      to be fair, dempsey hit that really well. that was just a ridiculous foot save from fernandez. jozy, on the other hand, is missing the target all together.

    • Gerard D. says:

      Jozy missed a sitter yesterday and was rightfully shredded.

  8. bryan says:

    own goal and PK given away by Evans in two games now.

    • Gerard D. says:

      Why is it Evan’s fault that Blas Perez is a diver?

      • bryan says:

        it’s dumb decision making by Evans. why is he cutting in there and even clipping him, however soft it was, in the first place? it’s just not smart defending.

        that said, i was half joking. Evans did get an assist in the game he scored an own goal.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Because Evans gave tripped him. There’s no question that there was contact—even Evans went tumbling.

        No, I am not a Perez or Dallas fan.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      I don’t think his own goal was that bad compared to most own goals. Yes, he could have done better to clear the ball, but it wasn’t an egregious error.

      The penalty though. Ugh. Why was Evans trying to get to Perez’s left anyway? He had Zach Scott already on that side, so Evans should have stayed to the right—he wouldn’t have tripped up Perez and together with Scott they could have pinched Perez from both sides.

      That said, Perez acted like he got tasered even after the penalty was awarded. Embarrassing.

      • bryan says:

        for sure, like i told Gerard, i was half joking. but i agree with you on the PK. despite Perez acting like a t00l, it was dumb defending by Evans. he didn’t need to do that.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Haha, we’re posting essentially the same thoughts at the same time. You must be psychic. Quick—put a thought in my head….

          {Meatballs}

          Holy cow! You’re amazing!

      • SteveE says:

        To me this was purely 2 players who don’t start in that position playing there. Evans is about 3rd or 4th on the depth chart at LB (Leo, Remick, maybe Scott) and Scott making his first start this year. Communication wasn’t the best. It was still dumb, but that may have a bit to do with it. Things will be cleaned up.

      • bgix says:

        Evans was trying to get to Blas’ left, because the ball was sailing over way right. Had he not clipped Perez, Evans would have been perfectly positioned “goal side” of Blas and the ball.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          But as I pointed out, Scott was already on Perez’s left. Evans didn’t need to get there.

          I think Evans may have been trying to intercept the one-touch header.

  9. A M says:

    Legit PK, Evans went down too! The only way Evans sees Brazil is to upgrade his basic cable! And I’m a Sounders fan