With Seattle’s top two goal-scorers out due to injury, the Sounders needed someone to step up.
That someone was Brad Evans, who figured in all three Seattle goals as the Sounders ran past Toronto FC, 3-0, before a Qwest Field crowd of 36,287.
Evans assisted on Seattle’s first goal before scoring the final two for the first multi-goal game in his five-season MLS career.
But actually, there were plenty of Sounders who stepped up, as Seattle dominated from the opening minutes. Toronto, meanwhile, behaved like it was playing in a foreign country.
Here was the early reaction from coach Sigi Schmid:
“First off I want to say to Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White that we miss you, we want you guys back with us as soon as possible, and the effort the guys put out tonight was a tribute to you as much as it was our team. So, we really miss you guys.
“I thought we played well. I thought we were a little bit unfortunate to only be ahead by one at halftime. We got the second goal – we said the first 15-20 minutes of the second half would be important: We got that second goal early into the second half, so that established our rhythm and we came close a couple of other times. Obviously we had to change our formation a little bit, play a little bit differently but I thought the guys responded really well. I thought we did a good job in the first half of disrupting the type of passing game that Toronto wants to establish. I was very pleased with how our team played. We made Kasey work for the shutout at the end. I guess they felt they didn’t want to give him a free one.”
For the first time this season, the Sounders (3-2-3) are on the 1.5-points-per-game pace that coach Sigi Schmid considers the safe zone for playoff qualification.
The result pushed the Sounders’ unbeaten run to six straight games.
They return to action with a couple of road games next week: Wednesday at D.C. United and Saturday at Columbus.
By the numbers:
SEA — Alvaro Fernandez 2 (Brad Evans 1, James Riley 1) 9
SEA — Brad Evans 2 (Fredy Montero 2, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 1) 52
SEA — Brad Evans 3 (penalty kick) 75
Toronto FC — Stefan Frei, Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman, Julian de Guzman (Nathan Sturgis 57), Maicon Santos (Mikael Yourassowsky 46), Jacob Peterson, Javier Martina, Alan Gordon, Alen Stevanovic (Matt Gold 62).
Substitutes Not Used: Nana Attakora, Ty Harden, Joao Plata, Milos Kocic.
TOTAL SHOTS: 6 (Javier Martina 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Javier Martina 1, Mikael Yourassowsky 1); FOULS: 12 (Dan Gargan 3, Alan Gordon 3); OFFSIDES: 2 (Alan Gordon 1, Mikael Yourassowsky 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Nathan Sturgis 3); SAVES: 7 (Stefan Frei 7)
Seattle Sounders — Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 66), Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 72), Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 80).
Substitutes Not Used: Leo Gonzalez, Lamar Neagle, Jeff Parke, Terry Boss.
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Brad Evans 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (Brad Evans 3); FOULS: 13 (Osvaldo Alonso 3, Fredy Montero 3); OFFSIDES: 2 (Mike Fucito 1, Nate Jaqua 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Erik Friberg 4); SAVES: 2 (Kasey Keller 2)
SEA — Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Persistent Infringement) 45
TOR — Julian de Guzman (caution; Reckless Tackle) 54
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: -Peter Manikowski; Jeff Muschik
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Time of Game: 1:49
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-56-degrees
80th minute: Seattle’s final substitution: Servando Carrasco for Erik Friberg.
75th minute: GOAL. Evans nails penalty kick after handball in box. Seattle, 3-0. First multi-goal game of Evans’ career.
72nd minute: Levesque in for Jaqua.
66th minute: Montero out, Fucito in.
52nd minute: GOAL. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado makes a steal at midfield, passes to Fredy Montero, who passes forward to Evans, who beats Frei to the far post. Sounders, 2-0.
Second half: … has begun.
Halftime: Sounders 1-0. However, their control was so great for so long, there is a temptation to wonder if the lack of a second goal will come back to bite them.
In any case, generally impressive free-flowing half, which got a little rougher and chippier in the closing minutes.
Shots, 7-1, Seattle. Shots on goal, 2-0 Seattle. Corners, 3-1, Seattle.
11th minute: Sounders fans hold up their No. 11 cards and chant “Zakuani.”
Ninth minute: GOAL. Seattle up 1-0 as Alvaro Fernandez heads one in after a long cross from Brad Evans.
Kickoff: The game has begun. Toronto (1-2-4) in red/red; Sounders (2-2-3) in green/blue.
Lineup: Sounders going with GK Keller; D Riley, Hurtado, Ianni, Wahl; M Evans, Alonso, Fernandez; F Friberg, Montero, Jaqua. Bench is Boss, Carrasco, Fucito, Gonzalez, Levesque, Neagle, Parke.
Toronto starting GK Frei; D Gargan, Williams, Cann, Borman; M de Guzman, Santos, Peterson; F Martina, Gordon, Stevanovic. Bench: Kocic, Attakora, Gold, Harden, Plata, Sturgis, Yourassowsky.
Pregame: The gates are about to open at sun-splashed Qwest Field on just a beautiful evening for soccer. But for all that, it will also be a bit of a downer, as the club pays tribute to Steve Zakuani … and Zakuani will not be around to see it, as he remains hospitalized.
The basics: Toronto FC and the Sounders kick off at 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on KONG and the usual radio outlets.
We’ll keep this post open all evening for pregame, in-game and postgame reports, and your comments. I’ll also have some other snarkier updates on the twitter feed linked at left.