All hail Eddie Johnson. The Seattle Sounders forward has now scored 13 league goals, setting a new team record with seven matches left to play.
The two he scored on Saturday were vintage Johnson, leading the Sounders to a 2-1 win over Chivas USA. The first was a matter of him out leaping three Chivas USA defenders and was very reminiscent of a goal he scored against the New England Revolution earlier this year. The second was more about power, as he got on the end of a Fredy Montero cross and pounded it past Dan Kennedy, who actually managed to get his glove on the ball.
Those two plays seem to sum up pretty well what Johnson has brought to this team in his year. Not only is he the kind of physical presence this team has never really had, but he's also shown an ability to come up big when the team needs it most.
Maybe the best part is how magnanimous both he and Montero seem to be with one each other right now, as they seem to understand that their playing well is not some sort of zero-sum game. This can only bode well as the season moves forward.
SEA - Eddie Johnson (Christian Tiffert) 29'
SEA - Eddie Johnson (Fredy Montero) 89'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans (Cordell Cato 84), Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert (Alex Caskey 61), Steve Zakuani (Andy Rose 75), Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 7; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 3.
Chivas USA - Dan Kennedy, Jorge Villafana, Rauwshan McKenzie (Jose Erick Correa 90), Danny Califf (Tristan Bowen 63), James Riley, Shalrie Joseph, Miller Bolanos, Nick LaBrocca, Ben Zemanski, Juan Agudelo (Laurent Courtois 67), Casey Townsend.
CHV - Shalrie Joseph (caution) 66'
CHV - Casey Townsend (caution) 77'
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: Mike Rottersman, Jeremy Hanson
4th Official: Kevin Terry, Jr.
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Partly cloudy and 73 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
POSTGAME QUOTES: SOUNDERS FC vs. CHIVAS USA - September 8, 2012
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the game...) "I think sometimes when you have a win like we had down in LA, you can pretty much stand on your head in the locker room before the game. The edge sometimes is off a little bit and you try to keep them focused and motivated, but the edge is off. Obviously, we didn't start off well. We put ourselves behind one-nothing, but I think it's our first come from behind win all year. Then we showed some character in terms of coming back. Mauro [Rosales] didn't play today because we didn't want to take a chance on his quad. [Christian] TIffert had to come out-it was a little bit of an ankle that's been bothering him. We don't have [Adam] Johansson, we don't have [Mario] Martinez, but we're still able to put a quality effort in there against a team that has nothing to lose. They don't have to play it tight-they're going to try and win the game. They can take risks and chances. I'm pleased with our ability to win, pleased with our ability to come back. As hot as [Fredy] Montero has been, he draws a lot of attention. That opens up some space for Eddie [Johnson], he gets on two good headers-a good free kick frinTiffert on the one and the other one just a tremendous cross from Fredy Montero, so it's good to see them combine. I'm very pleased."
(On if he is happier with a come from behind win or a four-goal win like last time...) "I like them both. Four goals is a little better, a little easier on the heart and all that good stuff. Coming from behind is something that we haven't done this year and to show our character being able to do that. We left a little late, but that's important too because the team has to know that no matter how long it goes, we're always in it to win it."
(On coming from behind for the first time this year...) "I think it's a little bit of a fluke statistic. Last year we put ourselves behind oftentimes and then came back and scored and won games. It's a little bit more because we had more offensive players on the field and we were a little exposed in the back. This year, we got off to a good start, we got early goals all the time, so we really didn't have to come from behind which is the ideal thing that you want to have as a coach. When we hit that bad streak, we came from behind to tied once or twice, but not to win. I think it's more fluke than anything else."
(On the style of the game being different than it was in Los Angeles...) "Each game takes on its own personality. Obviously, they played a lot more defensive here. Even thought [Nick] LaBrocca got in and scored that goal early, they really did a job of getting eight guys behind the ball. They bunkered in, they dropped their two forwards, as well. They said, 'Okay, you can knock the ball around on your side of the field.' So now you have to breakdown a pack defense, and that's what teams do a lot to us here. Obviously, that's a situation where Mauro helps us because he has that ability to break down a team when they're bunkered in like that. We didn't do a good job of getting wide enough in the first half. If a team jumps in like that, getting behind them wide, drawing guys out and slipping in other people from behind is what opens things up. We were playing too many balls in front of their defense and weren't getting enough width, but they were a lot more defensive in their orientation today than they were in LA."
(On the team's patience...) "I thought our patience at times was good. Sometimes I thought we were a little too patient, I think we could have seen some of those switching balls sooner. Steve Zakuani came inside an awful lot, so it was almost like Leo [Gonzalez] was on the flank more. I would have rather seen that reversed a little bit and seen Steve go at him. Right now, Steve is drifting inside, trying to find his rhythm of play again, so I'm not too displeased. We'll keep going, at times we have to be patient, but you want to have that possession in the middle third of the field-in the attacking middle third-so you can break them down. If your possession is just in your defensive third, then you're really not going to draw them out. You're not going to break them down."
(On Eddie Johnson's header goals this year...) "It adds a dimension to our team. In year one we had a little bit of that in Nate Jaqua. Nate got a few goals with his head and provided that dimension for us. Since Nate, [Blaise] Nkufo was there, but Nkufo we didn't enough balls to him in the box and some of the running wan't there at times. We really haven't had that option in the box for a while. He's been very sharp in their air and I'll take them whether they're headers or they're off the foot or they could be off his chest-as long as it goes into the back of the net."
(On next week's match at Portland...) "It's a game were looking forward to. Cascadia Cup is important to us. We felt a little hard done in our last game down there. I didn't think we played real well. The game got away from us as a game, and also emotionally got away from us a little bit, so we're looking forward to going down in front of the Timbers Army and putting on a result. We want to put ourselves in a position to win a Cascadia Cup, but also want to put ourselves in a position to solidify second place. We want three more points. We want to put ourselves in a position where if San Jose falters, we're right there and they know it, and we still have a six-point game against San Jose coming up in two weeks, as well."
(On Steve Zakuani...)"Having coached for a long time, when players come back from a long injury layoff like his, there's a little bit of a spike when you first come in, and then you hit a little bit of a valley again. That valley, I know is going to come...we have to get him through the valley and he'll be back into form. His best soccer is probably not until next season. His best, best soccer. It usually takes you about half the time you were out for you to find your best soccer again. Between a third to half the time. He still has a huge upside and he's got a lot of capabilities, and when he broke in the second half there, it was very close to a goal. [Dan] Kennedy did a good job coming off the line and cutting the angle."
Eddie Johnson - Sounders FC Forward
(Describing his first goal) "Tiffert is a great deliverer of the ball, and I just wanted to get on the end of it. We practiced who is running the first post, second post, third post and try to recover. We tried to run between each other and get into the gaps. It was just a well-timed ball."
(Describing his second goal) "I knew when Freddy gets it out wide, he gets his head up. We were trying to push it to the point and it was just a well-delivered ball by Fredy (Montero). I like heading the ball -- if it'd hit my foot, I'd be a little more nervous."
(On his nine goals by header this season) "I've always been a decent header of the ball -- it's just practicing it. Fortunately I'm on a team where we have good guys that are getting out wide and putting some great balls into the box. I think that's one of my strengths and guys are starting to realize that."
(On his club-record 13 goals this season) "That's a bonus. I couldn't ask for a better team to share that with. Like I said, they are the reason why I'm getting my goals. All the hard work we've put in week-in and week-out is paying off. It's a humbling moment, but I couldn't ask for a better team to share it with."
Fredy Montero - Sounders FC Forward
(On Eddie Johnson's franchise record-setting 13th goal) "It is always good when you have someone on your team who can score goals, you know. The past years I was the guy who liked to score goals, but we didn't make the final. Hopefully this year he's going to take us together and put Seattle Sounders in the final."
(On the club's first win after allowing the first goal of a match) "Our motivation was to win this game, to be in second place. The hard work paid off in the end with the second goal and we were really happy with those three points."
Christian Tiffert - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On his assist...) "Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. I've said it before, it's not important if you get the statistic. That's not important. We want to win a championship as a team. It doesn't matter if Tiffert gets 10 assists or Montero gets 10 assists, we want to win games."
(On the importance of today's win) "This was a very defensive team. If you want to win championships, you have to win such games against such teams."
(On Chivas' game plan and the difficulty of the win) "They wanted to counterattack, and the first goal was on a counterattack. Then 80-85 minutes they wanted to play defense. It's not easy to win that kind of a game."
Robin Fraser - Chivas USA Head Coach
(On the game...) "I thought we started off very well. We made it difficult for them to get attacking chances against us and we obviously created some pace for ourselves and scored an early goal - a good goal. It was a great start and then slowly but surely we got less and less confident on the ball, which led to more turnovers, which led to the rest of the game."
(On Chivas USA's defense and on their missed offensive opportunities...) "It was certainly an improvement over what we've seen the last few weeks. We certainly worked a lot at it over the last number of weeks and through this week. So to come out and be solid and not give up a ton of opportunities was definitely better and we felt better about that. But you have to be able to play on both sides, right? We defended fairly well. They're really hard. I have to give them credit - they fought really hard. On the attacking side, we just weren't good enough. When you keep giving good teams opportunities, they're going to obviously create chances."
James Riley - Chivas USA Defender
(On coming back and playing in Seattle...) "Obviously kind of mixed emotions. It's fantastic to come back and play in front of a crowd that I did for three years. I have a lot of good memories with this team and club and organization. But obviously, we were a bit hard done. I thought we could have gotten out of there with a point. Our backs are against the wall like a wounded animal, so we're scrapping for anything right now. We're scrapping for playing time, for wins, for jobs next year. I thought we came out and competed. Obviously good teams sometimes find a way to win consistently and they did that today with two great goals."