Not the prettiest of winners, but Sounders FC will take it.
Chicago Fire defender Gonzalo Segares accidentally knocked a Seattle cross into his own net in the 89th minute and the Sounders, despite missing a penalty kick, escaped with an exhilarating comeback win, 2-1, Saturday in front of 38,503 at CenturyLink Field.
Late pressure was rewarded as the hosts attacked relentlessly throughout the second half in pursuit of the win. The breakthrough came when Zach Scott, a second-half substitute, raced up the left flank and drove a low pass across the face of goal that ricocheted of Segares and past his helpless goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Hardly a glamorous goal, but just as effective as any other.
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“A winner’s a winner,” said midfielder Marc Burch with a smile. “We’ll take the three points and leave.”
Mauro Rosales added “it was a lucky one, but I think we deserved the win today because … we had control of the game.”
The sizzling Sounders (14-8-4) have won four games in the row, tied for the longest winning streak in MLS this season. Forty-six points is a franchise best through 26 regular-season games.
Chicago (10-11-5) remains the only MLS team that hasn’t beaten Seattle, falling to 0-5-3 — and add another loss when including the U.S. Open Cup.
The Fire opened the scoring in the 25th minute, when star forward Mike Magee timed a run perfectly to get behind the defense. There he collected a pass from midfielder Dilly Duka and finished a wide-open chance for his 15th goal of the season, tied for the MLS lead.
The goal ended Seattle’s season-best shutout streak at 311 minutes, which was fourth longest in the league this season.
The Sounders would quickly earn a chance to equalize in the 31st minute, though, after Fire defender Bakary Soumare committed a handball in the penalty box.
Osvaldo Alonso stepped up to take the penalty kick, but his effort was denied on a spectacular diving effort by Johnson. It was Seattle’s first PK miss since 2011, having gone 4 for 4 in league games the past two seasons.
Brad Evans normally takes Seattle’s PKs — the midfielder is a perfect 6 for 6 — but he was out with a calf strain. Other Sounders have combined to go an atrocious 5 for 12 from the spot.
The hosts pressed on and got the tying goal in the 40th minute, when Burch centered a pass to Lamar Neagle in front of the goal for a calm finish.
Neagle, a Federal Way native, has scored in back-to-back games, and his seven goals this season are tied with Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins for the team lead.
So would Neagle have believed it if told at the beginning of the year he’d be the team’s co-leading scorer in September?
“Not at all,” he said. “I think even if you had told me how many minutes I’d have up to now, I would’ve laughed in your face. … There is no way I could’ve seen this happening.”
The Sounders improved to 2-8-1 this season when allowing the first goal, 2-1-1 in the last four instances, and extended a home unbeaten streak to 12, including five straight wins.
Seattle continues to have the highest points-per-game average in the league at 1.77 and Saturday’s comeback was the latest in a run of seven wins in eight games.
“We’ve gotten a few fortunate bounces, we’ve held on in tough games, we’ve held leads from early goals. I think we’ve done a great job keeping the streak going,” said Burch.