Playing a man down after Leo Gonzales drew a red card in the sixth minute, the Sounders received an Eddie Johnson goal in the 15th and held on to defeat the Columbus Crew 1-0 Saturday night in a match delayed by more than hour by thunder, lighting and rain that swamped Crew Stadium.
Coming off a 1-0 victory over Portland in front of more than 67,000 at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders fell into a quick hole when Gonzales drew the red card. But eight minutes later, after a nice run by DeAndre Yedlin, Mauro Rosales delivered a perfect free kick from 35 yards away, off of which Johnson knocked through his seventh goal of the season in the 15th minute.
The Sounders played 83 minutes plus stoppage time down a man after Gonzales pulled down Ryan Finley 40 yards from the goal.
“We didn’t plan to lose a man (Gonzales) six minutes into a game, but we got something special today playing with 10 men,” said Rosales. “It’s amazing. I’m proud of my boys.”
The Sounders (12-8-4) ran their record to 36-0-8 when scoring first, and have won five of their past six matches and five times in August.
The Sounders, who moved fifth place in the Western Conference to third, played exceptionally well defensively after Gonzalez was sent off. Columbus didn’t come close to scoring a goal until the 75th minute. In the 79th, Dominic Orduro nearly scored, but his shot sailed wide left.
Sounders return home for three: Chivas USA Wednesday, Chicago Fire Sept. 7 and Real Salt Lake Sept. 13. They will be without Johnson, Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans for the Chivas and Chicago matches, the trio having been called up to the U.S. National Team for 2014 World Cup qualifying matches.
“We have to figure out how we are going to do it,” Rosales said of playing the next two matches without three of their top stars.