The result will give Seattle the No. 3 seed when the tournament resumes with its quarterfinal round in early March. The opening opponent will be determined by the results of the final group-stage games today.
The Sounders (4-0) already had clinched the top spot in its group before the Wednesday match. However, with more favorable seeding at stake, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid had hoped his team could get ahead early to break the spirit of a Marathon.
Seattle made it happen by jumping two goals ahead in the first half hour.
The breakthrough came in the 23rd minute, when Mario Martinez sent a cross into the box, and Sammy Ochoa knocked it home from near the penalty spot. It was Ochoa’s fourth goal in four CCL matches.
Seattle added to its lead five minutes later, when Steve Zakuani cut past a defender in the area and scored to the near post from about 10 yards.
Marathon (1-2-1) responded in the 37th minute, when Tulio Vega drew out Seattle goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann and passed across the box to Michael Brown, who knocked it into an empty net. It was the only goal Seattle surrendered in group play that didn’t come by penalty kick.
The Sounders put the game away in the 76th minute on a strike by David Estrada, who got to a ball in front of the goal and knocked it home.
Seattle concludes its Major League Soccer regular season Sunday at Los Angeles.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt