SEATTLE (AP) — Brad Evans scored twice, including the go-ahead goal, to lead the Seattle Sounders to a 3-1 victory over FC Dallas on Sunday night.
The Sounders (15-7-11, 56 points), who already have clinched their fourth straight MLS playoff berth, climbed into a second-place tie with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference. Both teams have one game remaining.
“This was obviously one of the most important games of the year so far. We make a statement tonight, we carry this to next Sunday (in the regular-season finale at Los Angeles), and we give ourselves a chance going into the playoffs,” Evans said.
The loss eliminated FC Dallas (9-13-11, 38 points) from playoff contention, securing the fifth and final spot in the West for Vancouver.
The Sounders did not have head coach Sigi Schmid on the sidelines. He was serving a one-game suspension after making comments critical of the officiating following Wednesday’s 0-0 tie with Salt Lake in Seattle. Lead assistant coach Brian Schmetzer ran the team in Schmid’s absence.
Seattle’s Fredy Montero started the play that led to Evans’ tie-breaking goal early in the 60th minute. Montero took a quick throw-in down the left sideline. The ball went to Christian Tiffert, who brought it into the left side of the penalty area. He crossed it to Evans, and, from just to the right of the penalty spot, Evans beat Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman to the back left corner for his fourth goal of the year.
The penalty kick was Seattle’s first since March 23, when Evans also converted in a 2-0 victory against Houston.
“It was bound to happen,” Evans said. “Some teams get ’em all, some teams don’t. Fredy made a good touch and baited the guy and got the PK.”
Evans gave the Sounders a 1-0 lead with a penalty kick early in the 32nd minute. Mauro Rosales tallied in the 79th minute for Seattle, his third goal of the season.
Blas Perez scored his team-leading ninth goal of the year for Dallas.
Its playoff hopes dashed, FC Dallas will wind up the season next Saturday at home against Chivas USA.
“Well, it’s not just this game, it’s the whole season,” said coach Schellas Hyndman, whose team still had a chance to stay alive after Vancouver dropped a 1-0 decision to Portland earlier on Sunday. “For what we have on our team, not just with the injuries and suspensions, but the things we could have done a little better at I don’t know how much more I could get out of them. We had Seattle twice at home, and both games, we think we outplayed them and found a way not to win. It has been a whole-season thing.”
Sunday’s crowd of 38,755 fans at CenturyLink Field helped the Sounders break their own MLS single-season record for average attendance. Seattle averaged 43,144, beating its old mark of 38.498 from 2011.
— Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.