SEATTLE —The comeback was coming.
Sounders FC had gone nearly 11 months without a victory after allowing the first goal, but that ugly trend changed Sunday night with a much-needed 2-1 home win against last-place Chivas USA before 38,463 at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle, upon conceding a sloppy opener, got goals from Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle to snap a three-game winless streak and get back in the playoff race in the Western Conference.
“It was a big one for us, pushes us up on the table,” said defender DeAndre Yedlin.
“We really needed it,” added forward Obafemi Martins, who had two assists.
The Sounders (8-7-4) have matched a franchise record with an eight-game home unbeaten streak, having not lost at CenturyLink since the season opener against Montreal.
Numbers are even more impressive against Chivas USA. Seattle hasn’t lost in the head-to-head series since 2009, an 8-0-4 run that includes two wins in the U.S. Open Cup.
The Sounders’ last win after allowing the first goal came Sept. 8, also at home against Chivas USA and also 2-1.
Seattle broke a 1-1 tie in the 57th minute on a nice series of passes that led to Neagle, a Federal Way native, slamming in his fifth goal of the season, matching his career high.
Martins and Mauro Rosales had assists in the buildup as Neagle scored his first goal since capping another comeback win June 8 vs. Vancouver.
The goal also snapped a 604-minute drought since Rosales had factored into a scoring play. The 32-year-old has 30 career assists for Seattle, behind only the 34 of Fredy Montero in franchise history.
It seemed only a matter of time before Seattle would break through, as midfielder Marc Burch and defender Patrick Ianni had near misses soon after halftime. Even a minute before his goal, Neagle had a curling shot from distance that required a diving stop by goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
The Sounders fired a season-high 20 shots overall, fourth most for a game in franchise history.
Prospects didn’t look so good earlier, as Chivas USA (4-12-5) took the lead in the 16th minute, stunning the home crowd. The play started on a Sounders turnover but was compounded by a calamitous defensive mix-up that resulted in Erick Torres finishing his second goal of the season past goalkeeper Andrew Weber.
Seattle came into the game with a 0-7-1 record when conceding the first goal, the lone point coming last week in a 1-1 tie against Colorado.
The Sounders didn’t need long to equalize, however, as Martins slotted a pass forward to Evans, in stride, allowing the midfielder to slot a near-post shot past Kennedy.
It was the first goal for Evans since March 30.