Monday, May 20, 2013

Sounders defeat FC Dallas 4-2; Extend unbeaten streak to six

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders hot streak continues. On Saturday night, the Rave Green came way with their third straight win as they defeated the Western Conference leaders FC Dallas 4-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to six games. The Sounders had a 2-0 lead at halftime, but Dallas came back with two quick goals early in the second half to level the match up at two goals a piece only for the Sounders to come away with two more unanswered goals and the three points. The Sounders will have a chance at extending their unbeaten run to seven games as they travel to the Home Depot Center for a Western Conference Finals rematch against the two-time MLS Cup Champion Los Angeles Galaxy. LA is coming off a 1-0 road loss to the New York Red Bulls and have struggled a bit as of late, losing three out of their last four games. The game will take place this Sunday at 8pm on ESPN2.

With just over a quarter of an hour gone by in the match, the Sounders opened the scoring. After FC Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez cleared the ball to midfield, Ozzie Alonso headed it back into the Dallas area where Eddie Johnson was in a race with defender London Woodberry. The rookie makes a mistake by trying to reach out with his right foot for the ball and EJ makes him pay as he brings it down with his chest and puts it away with the outside of his right foot and the Sounders pick up where they left off against the Earthquakes. Scoring goals. It was Johnson's third MLS goal of the season (fourth in all competitions) and first against his former club. Woodberry had a torrid evening as the Sounders offense took him to school.

EJ nearly had a second five minutes later. Mario Martinez's outswinger from the far touchline found Johnson who outjumped Matt Hedges but couldn't direct his header on target.

In the 27th minute, Seattle had another big chance to double their lead. Mario Martinez found Brad Evans in behind the defense and as he approached the 6 yard area, he hesitated at the last second, deciding whether or not to slide the ball across to Lamar Neagle and that gave Raul Fernandez time to position himself and make the save. Evans appeared to have been offside on the pass from Martinez, but at the same time, Evans was in position to slot the ball inside the far corner with his left foot.

Evans was involved in another scoring chance for the Sounders in the 30th minute. This time, a through ball to Lamar Neagle did the trick. Neagle was fed with a perfectly timed through ball as he beat the offside trap, only had the keeper to beat, dribbles the ball around him and puts the ball inside the empty net before London Woodberry could have any chance of sliding in and breaking up the play. There was no doubt in this play, Neagle was definitely onside. Zach Loyd, the last defender, kept him on. But the question is, why the hell is Dallas trying to push all the way up and trying to play the offside trap? This time the Sounders made them pay. That was Neagle's third goal in two games and the Sounders doubled their lead.

Just shortly after, the Sounders suffered a big blow as Ozzie Alonso was forced to leave the game with in injury. Last I heard, it was a left adductor strain, but no further information as of right now. I just hope he'll be back soon.

Just over 10 minutes later, the Sounders came real close to making it three. Michael Gpsurning gathered the ball quickly threw the ball out to Mario Martinez to set Seattle on the counter. Martinez cut inside and slid the ball trough to Brad Evans for a first timed shot, but it hit the side of the net. Many thought it was in. As a matter of fact, I've seen those plays result in goals more times than not.

Seconds later, Dallas had a golden opportunity to cut the lead in half. Zach Loyd made an overlapping run and was found by Jackson. Loyd had plenty of time to take a touch and whip the ball to the near post for Blas Perez who looked to direct his header inside Michael Gpsurning's right hand post and ends up hitting the post, then off Gspurning's left hand and the rebound by Eric Hassli was saved off Gspurning's left thigh. Had Gpsurning not got a left hand to the ball, I think Kenny Cooper would've had an easy rebound.

In the 54th minute, Dallas this time were able to pull one back. The visitors look more dangerous on set pieces this year then they did last year. Mainly because of the quality that Brazilian midfielder Michel on his delivery and he showed that in this game as he curled the ball into the area for a free header from former Portland Timber forward Kenny Cooper who didn't even need to jump. All he needed to do was direct the ball on target and that's what he did and Dallas cut the Sounders lead to one.

Seattle continued to attack though and in the 59th minute, they were an inch away from making it 3-1. Mario Martinez played in another great through ball in the box, this time to Eddie Johnson who was denied a second goal by Raul Fernandez. Lamar Neagle came crashing in looking to head in the rebound but was denied with a heroic goaline stop by London Woodberry to keep it a 2-1 game. That was pretty much the only highlight of this match for Woodberry who as I mentioned earlier, had a rough night in the office.

Two minutes later, the Hoops level the match up on what is a rare feat in soccer. They call it an Olimpico Goal. I did mention the quality that Michel has on set pieces and his inswinger from the near hashmark goes directly into the far corner without touching anybody and the Sounders quickly see their two goal lead slip away with just under a half an hour to go in the match. This isn't the first time Michael Gspurning was on the back end of a Gol Olimpico. Marco Pappa scored one direct off a corner in Seattle's visit to Chicago last season. Again, Olimpico Goals are very rare, although we've seen quite a few in MLS these last couple of years. David Beckham did it a couple years ago when he was still playing for the LA Galaxy. Thierry Henry scored one direct off a corner kick last year. I already mentioned Marco Pappa. And now Michel against the Seattle Sounders.

Now I'm actually going to show you the goal...... mainly because a lot of you don't know what an Olimpico Goal is, so this video should give you an idea.

However, the match was level for only a minute because in the 62nd minute, the Men in Rave Green came right back and got their third. FC Dallas have been sloppy all night in their passing game, struggling to get the ball out of their area and once again they paid the price. Shalrie Joseph fed Lamar Neagle who turned and slid the ball through to Eddie Johnson and EJ made no mistake this time as he dribbled around Raul Fernandez and went Upper-V (which means he struck it inside the top corner of the net) for his second of the game and the Sounders just like that climb back ahead and take a 3-2 lead. This looked like a similar play where Brad Evans missed wide off a through ball from Martinez back in the first half and EJ getting denied in the second half. But this time EJ see that Fernandez is coming off his line to cut down the angle and he dribbles around him and puts it away.

In the 72nd minute, blood was drawn and the outcome was a controversial red card decision. Blas Perez and Leo Gonzalez were both going up for the ball and Perez ends up catching Gonzalez with an elbow, unintentionally though. When they showed the replay, it looked like a dangerous play and that MLS was going to review it during midweek and see if it worthy of a suspension, but when it got back to live action, referee Mark Geiger (who we've have problems with the last few times he officiated matches involving the Sounders) reached for his back pocket and pulled out the red card after a discussion with the fourth official. You see plays like this every time where players accidentally get elbowed while going up in the air for the ball and no red cards were handed out on those plays, so I think the only reason a red card was given is because Gonzalez's face was covered in blood.

In the 83rd the Sounders would get another goal to cap off another big victory. Lamar Neagle whipped in a brilliant left footed cross for Eddie Johnson to headed the ball straight at Raul Fernandez. The ball fell to Brad Evans who slid the ball to the middle for Obafemi Martins to slide it home for his third goal of the season and more importantly, to seal the Sounders third straight win as they defeat FC Dallas 4-2. The Sounders are unbeaten in their last six matches since starting the year 0-3-1 and most people would begin to think that they're a force to be force to be reckoned with up front with Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle and now Obafemi Martins.

Scoring summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Eddie Johnson 3 (Osvaldo Alonso 1) 16'

Seattle Sounders FC - Lamar Neagle 3 (Brad Evans 1) 30'

FC Dallas - Kenny Cooper 3 (Michel 4) 54'

FC Dallas - Michel 1 (Unassisted) 61'

Seattle Sounders FC - Eddie Johnson 4 (Lamar Neagle 1) 62'

Seattle Sounders FC - Obafemi Martins 3 (Brad Evans 2) 83'

Misconduct summary:

FC Dallas - London Woodberry (caution; foul) 43'

FC Dallas - Blas Perez (ejection; violent conduct) 73'

Seattle Sounders FC - DeAndre Yedlin (caution; time wasting) 87'


FC Dallas - Raul Fernandez; Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, London Woodberry (Walker Zimmerman 85'), Jair Benitez; Jackson, Michel, Je-Vaughn Watson; Eric Hassli, Blas Perez, Kenny Cooper (Fabian Castillo 64')

Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning; DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leonardo Gonzalez (Zach Scott 78'); Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso (Shalrie Joseph 31'), Servando Carrasco, Mario Martinez (Obafemi Martins 63'); Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle

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