CARSON, Calif. — Seattle Sounders FC fell into a pattern on its just-concluded run of three straight road games.
In each game, the Sounders fell behind early and then rallied for a result, the latest being a 2-1 win Saturday at Chivas USA.
“One-nothing is nothing,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “You just have to overcome it, and I think that’s what we’ve shown and have been able to do.”
Before an announced crowd of 7,499 at StubHub Center, Seattle fell behind in the opening minutes on a controversial penalty kick but came back on goals by Lamar Neagle and Obafemi Martins — both assisted by Clint Dempsey.
Chivas USA (1-3-3) jumped ahead in the fifth minute after Osvaldo Alonso was whistled for a foul ruled just inside the top corner of the penalty area. Erick Torres nailed the PK, joining Dempsey atop the Golden Boot race with six goals apiece.
“I don’t know if it was a penalty or not,” Schmid said. “It seemed a little bit soft ... We showed the character. We came back.”
Seattle pulled even in the 24th minute when Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy misplayed a high ball in front of the goal. Dempsey nudged it across the box, where Neagle knocked home the equalizer.
“Clint kind of flicked it, and it’s one of those that lands in front of you — you’re fortunate,” Neagle said. “And players like me just love cleaning up.
“Three yards out, and you smash it.”
It had been a rough game from the start, as the Sounders were fouled a club-record 26 fouls.
Seventeen minutes from the end, Chivas USA midfielder Marco Delgado was sent off with a red card after a foul on Gonzalo Pineda. Seattle played with a one-man advantage from there.
Eight minutes later, the Dempsey-to-Martins combo clicked.
It was Martins’ second goal of the season, and he admitted it felt good.
“Yeah, sure, and we won as well,” Martins said. “We’ve been working hard. I think we deserved it.”
With his two assists, Dempsey extended his run to six straight regular-season games with a goal (six) or an assist (three).
“As long as he’s involved with goals, that’s what’s important for us,” Schmid said.
Seattle pushed its unbeaten streak against Chivas USA to 12 straight games, and won its sixth straight in the series. The Goats’ overall winless streak increased to six games (0-3-3).
Mauro Rosales, who spent the previous three seasons in Seattle, played 85 minutes for Chivas USA.
“I thought Leo (Gonzalez) did a good job on him,” Schmid said. “... I felt for the most part we kept Mauro pretty quite. I didn’t think he was too involved in what they were doing offensively.”
In the three road matches, the Sounders yielded seven of a possible nine points – beginning with a draw in Portland before concluding with wins at Dallas and Chivas USA.
The Sounders (4-2-1) will return to action against Colorado at 1 p.m. Saturday, their first home game since March 29.
Brad Evans returned to action in the 67th minute after missing the four previous matches with a calf injury. “People don’t understand it: ‘Oh, you played 15-20 minutes,’ ” Evans said. “But that’s the hardest 20 minutes of the game right there when you’re trying to push both ways. So for me, it’s about getting fitness now, game fit.” ... The Sounders begin MLS Reserve League play with a match at Chivas USA at 11 a.m. Sunday.