Managing quite nicely without coach Sigi Schmid, sitting out a one-game suspension for intemperate remarks, the Sounders closed out their home season Sunday night at the Clink with a 3-1 triumph over Dallas FC that eliminated the Texans from the playoff race. The Sounders are assured of playing Real Salt Lake in the first round, their postseason opponent in 2011, with only seeding to be determined.
The Sounders moved into second place in the MLS West largely on the work of Brad Evans, who had a brace -- the decisive score in the 60th minute that followed his successful penalty kick in the 32nd minute.
Mauro Rosales added on in the 79th minute, assisted by Freddy Montero and Eddie Johnson, to the delight of 38,755 on a damp, cool evening, making the season average 43,144, topping their own MLS record.
In the 41st minute, Dallas's Blas Perez tied the game at 1 when he sidewinded a five-yarder past Sounders goalie Michael Gspurning after a free kick entered the penalty area and was deflected right to Perez.
Evans' game-winner came after Christian Tiffert barreled down the left flank and crossed to Evans, who was centered in front of the frame for the easy score. Fredy Montero delivered to Tiffert after a Dallas defender quit on the ball in front of the benches.
Taking over for Schmid, top assistant coach Brian Schmetzer helped bring home Seattle's second win in the last six games for 59 points, trailing only the 65 of West winner San Jose, which already clinched the Supporters Shield.
The Sounders play Wednesday to conclude CONCACAF Champions League group play when Marathon of Honduras visits CenturyLink. Regardless of the outcome, Seattle has already won its group, and will likely play reserves heavily.
Seattle ends its MLS regular season at 6 p.m. Sunday at Los Angeles.
PORTLAND WINS CASCADIA CUP -- The Portland Timbers won their first road game of the season, 1-0 in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, and with it the 2012 Cascadia Cup. The Timbers went 3-1-2, Sounders 2-1-3 and Whitecaps 0-3-3 in the fan-driven competition among the three Northwest MLS teams.
Despite the loss, the Whitecaps backed into the the West's fifth and final spot, thanks to the Dallas loss, becoming the first Canadian team in the MLS postseason.