BY: Karen Watson
SEATTLE – Strange errors and high drama characterized the Sounders 2-1 loss to conference rivals Real Salt Lake and halted their eleven game winning streak. This was only Seattle’s third home loss of the season and the first since May when they fell to FC Dallas.
Seattle’s tenured goalkeeper Kasey Keller made an uncharacteristic error in the 13’, allowing an own goal following his failed clearance of a shot from Salt Lake’s Fabian Espindola. Keller attempted to clear the ball behind the far post but instead pushed it into his own net, putting RSL one up.
Within minutes it looked as if the Sounders would tie things up after they were awarded a penalty kick when Mike Fucito tangled with a RSL defender inside the box. Mauro Rosales stepped up to take the kick in the 16’ sending it wide of the net, to the dismay of an already stunned home crowd.
Dominating the possession in the first half, the Sounders had good movement thru the box and capitalized on the growing partnership between Rosales and defender James Riley who worked well together getting the ball forward on the right wing. Physical play marked the first 45’ with a total of fifteen fouls committed and several cards issued.
RSL were dealt a blow in the 35’ when Tony Beltran picked up a second yellow after a clumsy challenge on Mauro Rosales, resulting in his sending off. Beltran came in with a late challenge after the ball had already long gone, and although not particularly malicious it was certainly thoughtless.
Sounders midfielder Servando Carrasco earned his fifth yellow card of the season when he plowed into Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson, making him ineligible for Seattle’s next game.
Things turned even more dire for the home side when Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was sent off in the 39’ with a straight red card for a questionable foul on Alvaro Saborio who certainly made the most of the situation, putting on a show for referee Mark Kadlecik.
But Sounders forward Fredy Montero leveled the score just before the halftime break in the final thirty seconds of stoppage time, off a magnificent cross from Rosales, getting a great touch on the ball and sending it right past Salt Lake’s goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Saborio gave RSL the advantage in the 56’, skillfully outmaneuvering the Seattle defense and putting the ball in the back of the net, giving him the team’s scoring title with eight for the season.
While play calmed down considerably compared to the opening half, Seattle continued to apply pressure to the RSL back line in an effort to get the equalizer. Lamar Neagle, subbed on in the second half, tried to capitalize on his recent run of form but his shot in the 90’ was stopped by Rimando.
Four minutes of stoppage time weren’t enough for the Sounders to extend their unbeaten streak and RSL are now within three points of Seattle in the Western Conference, with two games in hand.