Eddie Johnson’s first goal as a Seattle Sounder turned out to be a game-winner.
What had once seemed an insurance goal became crucial as the Chicago Fire scored late and continued to swarm until finally falling to Seattle, 2-1, before a crowd of 14,166 at wind-swept Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.
It was the 100th MLS regular-season game in Sounders FC history, and the club moved its all-time record to 48-25-27.
More importantly, the Sounders moved to 4-1-1 on the season – the best six-game start in their four MLS seasons.
They also ran their record to 4-0-3 against the Fire.
For a time, it seemed that this win might come easily enough.
Seattle jumped ahead in the 38th minute when midfielder Osvaldo Alonso launched a pass from midfield. Johnson received it down the left side of the penalty area, and carried it to the touch line, where he played it back to David Estrada. Estrada made a move to his left, and then knocked into the net what appeared to be his fifth goal of the season.
It was later ruled an own goal deflected in off of Arne Friedrich, but Seattle led 1-0.
It seemed that might have been enough for a defense that came into the game with a 248-minute scoreless streak.
However, Chicago seemed dangerous most of the night, with forward Dominic Oduro leading the Fire counterattack – including one apparent goal waved off for offside.
An insurance goal seemed needed.
It came in the 67th minute. The play began with Fredy Montero smacking a long-distance free kick that Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson stopped but couldn’t control.
Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado got a piece of the ball in the resulting scramble in front of the goal before Johnson swooped in and sent in his first goal as a Sounder.
However, that apparently safe two-goal lead was sliced in half in the 89th minute, when Marco Pappa sent a wind-aided corner kick in over goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
The Fire remained dangerous through the final minute of regulation and about six minutes of stoppage time before the whistle finally ended it.
The Sounders return home today, beginning a quick turnaround before their Wednesday home match against the Los Angeles Galaxy.