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Neagle leads surging Sounders past Chivas USA 1-0
SEATTLE (AP) Lamar Neagle scored off of a free kick by Marc Burch midway through the first half to lead the surging Seattle Sounders to their sixth win in seven matches, 1-0 over Chivas USA on Wednesday night.
The Sounders (13-8-4) won their third straight and climbed into a tie with Los Angeles for second place in the Western Conference. Seattle is five points behind league-leading Real Salt Lake, with three games in hand.
"I've had chances here and there, even playing left back," said Neagle, whose goal was his sixth of the season and first since July 28. "It's one of those things that has been coming. Even in training, I've been trying to work on finishing as much as possible.
"When it came down to it, we got one, and that's all we needed with the shutouts we've been getting."
It was the Sounders' fourth straight goal in the last four games scored off of a free kick.
"We felt it was important for Lamar to do well," Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. "We also felt we've been very good in set pieces and free kicks lately. We said that's something we want to try to take advantage of, and we did again."
Chivas (5-15-7) had its road winless streak extended to 12 (0-9-3).
"We almost scored at the end, but unfortunately, the referee finished the game," Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Real said. "Before the game, we talked about (Seattle's scoring on set pieces), but it wasn't enough. In the first half, Seattle was better. But in the second half, Chivas, in my opinion, was better."
A hard foul on Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin gave the Sounders a free kick 23 yards up from the goal line on the right side. Burch drove the ball into the penalty area and Neagle, after settling it at the top right corner of the box, turned and drilled a right-footed shot into the far side of the net early in the 24th minute.
Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning picked up his third straight shutout and ninth of the year.
The Sounders were without Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson, who are both with the U.S. national team for World Cup qualifying games Friday at Costa Rica and next Tuesday against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio.
Updated September 5, 2013