By Karen Watson
SEATTLE – The Sounders settled for a nil-nil draw with visiting Chivas USA in an uninspired game full of missed scoring chances that earned them their first shut out in five league matches.
Play was interrupted within the first minute when Chivas forward Marcos Mondaini took a direct hit in the face with the ball and received medical attention on the sideline. He was subbed shortly thereafter in the 23’ with Justin Braun. The visiting side was well composed in the first half, sending the ball forward and using the most of their crisp passing game.
“I thought in the first half they were a little bit the better team, they had a little more of the game but we had better possession of the ball in the second half,” commented Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid after the match.
After catching some breaks in their last two matches, things just didn’t go Seattle’s way today especially in the 19’ when Alvaro Fernandez missed a penalty kick. Referee Kevin Stott awarded a Sounders penalty after Chivas defender Michael Umana had a handball inside the box but Fernandez sent the ball into the post where it bounced off Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy and out of play.
Chivas only had one shot on goal in the first forty-five, from midfielder Blair Gavin in the 30’ and it was easily handled by Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Seattle did slightly better with four shots in the half – forward Pat Noonan had two tries, both from headers and both off target.
Noonan had another opportunity in the 50’, this time in front of an open goal but Kennedy was able to get back to the line just in time to clear the ball. Seattle had their best chance of the second half in the 77’ after James Riley directed a beautiful long ball to Fernandez who was waiting by the far post, but his shot was amazingly blocked by Kennedy at close range.
Second half Seattle sub Lamar Neagle was tripped up inside the box in the 89’ but Stott failed to award a penalty, inciting vocal opposition from many of the Sounders players including Erik Friberg who was given a yellow card for dissent.
“It’s not the refereeing, we had chances to score, we had the penalty we could have scored on but I was happy that we were better defensively,” Schmid said post game.
The Sounders have now taken points in eleven of their last twelve MLS matches and recently secured a place in the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League by defeating Panamanian side San Fransisco FC, 2-0. Their next MLS league game is at home against Columbus Crew on August 27.