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Sounders Leave It Late But Pick Up A Huge Win Over Chivas USA

As the clock ticked down into the final minute of regulation time, it was beginning to look like one of those days for the Sounders; an 8th minute goal from Nick LaBrocca put Seattle in an early hole, and though the Sounders would equalize within 20 minutes and go on to dominate the run of play, their ability to find the final ball and put away chances was missing for the majority of the afternoon. Though a point would not have been a disastrous result, it would have significantly upped the pressure on Seattle as they enter a very tough eight-game stretch to close out the season.

Thankfully for the Sounders, Eddie Johnson didn't get the memo about this game being an inevitable letdown. Already on the scoresheet after a 28th minute equalizer from a Christian Tiffert free kick, Johnson picked up the late winner for his 13th goal of the season -a new Sounders club record- with another tremendous headed finish that was very nearly tipped away by Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy. The assist on the goal came from Fredy Montero, who capped off an excellent performance by beating Shalrie Joseph down the left flank to put himself in position to bend a tremendous cross into the path of a streaking Johnson.

With three points in hand, the narrative that can be taken from the game is significantly more positive. Without the winner from Johnson, the story is likely about Seattle's inability to secure a crucial home win against a weak opponent with playoff positioning on the line. Instead, the story is the excellent team performance of the Sounders that was marred only by some poor luck, poor officiating, and an uncharacteristic lack of cutting edge in the final third. Brad Evans continues to look like a man reborn, and if not for his clanging what looked to be an easy goal off of the post his performance could have realistically been described as flawless. After switching off on the early Chivas goal, the Sounders defense locked down and gave the Goats nary a sniff of the net for the rest of the day. Montero and Johnson are continuing to improve their chemistry with each game, with each creating several very good looks for the other. And Steve Zakuani, in his second consecutive start, gave Sounders fans a few more flashes of his old self, with only some surface rust the difference between his pre-and-post injury quality.

The Sounders attentions will now turn to their neighbors to the south, with next Saturday's trip to Jeld-Wen the first game in a huge week that also includes a trip to Honduras to take and Marathon and concludes with a huge contest against the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink. This win likely shouldn't have been as close as it ended up, but ultimately Seattle got the points they needed. Luck and the performance of a team's rivals will always factor in to the outcome of a season, but good teams find ways to minimize their influence.