For the last tune up before the playoffs, Seattle traveled to Los Angeles on Saturday, October 22nd, to face Chivas USA.
Early on it looked more like a bad idea as five minutes into the match, key midfielder Mauro Rosales went down in a hard tackle by Chivas midfielder Ben Zemanski. Zemanski received a yellow card and Rosales left on a stretcher with a knee injury.
This wasn’t how manager Sigi Schmid planned the regular season swan song. The players became cautious and neither team created much for the rest of the half.
Seattle regrouped at halftime, coming out with more aggression and opening up the attacking opportunities.
The pressure paid off in the 53rd minute when James Riley found Fredy Montero in the box with a nice chip pass. Defender Andrew Boyens got the ball away from Montero, but his back heel pass to keeper Dan Kennedy went past Kennedy and into the net for an own goal.
The Sounders kept their foot on the gas, doubling their score in the 68th minute with Brad Evans lofting a cross over the defense to a streaking Alvaro Fernandez. Fernandez placed his shot perfectly, getting his 9th goal of the season beautifully.
Seattle wrapped up their season’s scoring with a third goal in the 73rd minute by Sammy Ochoa. Montero placed a cross that Ochoa headed perfectly between Chivas keeper Kennedy’s legs.
The clean sheet was lost in the 83rd minute when the Sounders relaxed while Chivas kept attacking. It paid off for Chivas and for rookie Victor Estupinan, who notched his first career MLS goal.
My Man of the Match goes to Fredy Montero, not just for his finishing but for his cross that fed Ochoa’s goal. Montero led the Sounders to the post season on a high note.
Seattle opens their postseason on the road at Real Salt Lake next weekend. The biggest question mark for Seattle is whether Mauro Rosales will be available.
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