BRIDGEVIEW, IL - APRIL 28: Eddie Johnson #7 of the Seattle Sounders FC and Daniel Paladini #11 of the Chicago Fire struggle for the ball in the first half during their MLS match at Toyota Park on April 28, 2012 in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
Eddie Johnson's critics may not have been silenced, but even they will have to admit that the Seattle Sounders would have been in a bit of trouble without his contributions on Saturday. Johnson, who had not scored a goal in any league since May 9, 2010, ended up with the game-winner and
assisted on help set up the other in the Sounders' hard-fought 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire.
Neither of the Sounders' goals will be up for Goal of the Week, but they will happily take both. The first was actually ruled an own-goal initially and ultimately, but was set up by David Estrada's shot into the box that hit off Chicago Fire defender Arne Friedrich and past goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
The second goal was a product of Johnson just being at the right place at the right time. He was able to pounce on a ball that was sitting inside the goal box following an acrobatic Jhon Kennedy Hurtado shot.
That seemed to be plenty, but there were some tense moments after Marco Pappa scored an Olimpico in the 89th minute. The Fire were able to generate a few good chances in stoppage time, which ran a shocking six minutes long.
Much credit for this win -- and for the Sounders' 4-1-1 start -- needs to go to Osvaldo Alonso and the Sounders defense. Pappa's goal aside, they were tremendous despite using their sixth different backline in as many games. Hurtado and Johansson both looked strong in their returns and most of the Fire's best chances were nullified by offside calls.
It should also be noted that Mauro Rosales played, but came off five minutes into the second half. In a post-match interview, he said it was merely precautionary and noted Gonzalo Segares seems to have it out for him.