By: Karen Watson
SEATTLE – It wasn’t the way the Sounders wanted to finish out this home stand, going down 1-0 to FC Dallas and giving up their short lived second place Western Conference position. But things just didn’t go easy for the home side, being served a shut out for the first time since the opening week of the season.
Dallas came into the match on quite a tear, unbeaten in their last six games and hasn’t given up a goal since May 1. That’s 489 minutes in case you were counting. They gained the upper hand a quarter of the way thru the first half in the 18’ when Brek Shea gained a clear path up the middle, connected with a long ball from Andrew Jacobson and powered it past Kasey Keller who was coming out to the edge of the penalty box.
After fielding an unsuccessful diamond formation in Saturday’s game against Sporting Kansas City, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid returned to the Sounders’ more typical 4-4-2 pattern in an effort to create more space and better ball movement. Mike Fucito, who has come up big for Seattle in the past (CONCACAF Champions League play comes to mind), unbelievably was appearing in his first MLS start. This was Seattle’s 11th different line up in thirteen games and also featured the return of Erik Friberg now recovered from an ankle injury.
Once again Seattle had problems finishing and left a series of chances scattered throughout the first half. Fucito went on a terrific run in the 14’ and tried to lob it over the Dallas defense but the ball went just right. Then in the 43’ Mauro Rosales had the best opportunity of the half, chesting the ball down but sent it right into Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman’s hands.
The Sounders had impressive numbers on possession in the first half, 59% to 41%, but exponentially upped the percentage after the half and finishing the game with 72% to 28%. But majority numbers didn’t help them put one on the board as they continued to be frustrated in front of goal. Hartman came up big in the 66’ on a double save, both shots coming from Fucito – one a header and another on the deflection.
The home fans were understandably upset when referee Baldomero Toledo failed to give a penalty to Fucito in the 83’ when his run was impeded and he was taken down by the Dallas defender Zach Loyd.
With nine corner kicks awarded, Seattle had plenty of chances to make this a repeat of Saturday’s late win but in the end it wasn’t to be. Jeff Parke, the hero against Sporting Kansas City, almost had an identical goal from a Fucito corner in the 87’but he sent it wide this time around.
This was Seattle’s second loss in their past eleven games and they next face Real Salt Lake on the road this Saturday.