By Jae Groll
On a rainy Saturday night the Seattle Sounders did what no team in the MLS has done for over two years. Win at Rio Tinto Stadium. Seattle broke down a 10 man Real Salt Lake team 2-1 for a well deserved victory. The loss breaks an MLS record home unbeaten streak of 29 games for RSL.
The first half was a pedestrian affair with neither team able to find any kind of rythym on the soggy pitch and fighting the windy and rainy conditions.
The second half however was much more passionate. Both teams came out of the locker rooms vying to take the lead in what looked like a ‘1 goal will win it’ affair.
On 49′ Fabian Espindola snatched a turnover deep in the Seattle half and fired low and hard but the deflected shot ran just wide of the goal. It was the best chance of the game by either side to that point.
Less than two minutes later Seattle were tested again when keeper Casey Keller saved a Jamison Olave header off the crossbar to safety.
It would be the last positive contribution by Olave as on 58′ the big center half pulled down Sounders workhorse Mike Fucito on the edge of the box. It was a clumsy hi-low tackle from behind. The referee judged it to be a free on goal foul and the red card was shown.
After that, predictably, it was all Seattle as they took the reins and got the breakthrough on the 3rd touch of a corner kick that found the ball at the feet of Patrick Ianni on the goal line for an easy tap in.
Not long after that the game was decided by Lamar Neagle with a powerful shot that ricocheted off the cross bar and in.
RSL tried to claw back on 88′ Nelson Gonzalez with some nifty footwork in the box slid one past Keller setting up an interesting finish.
The last few minutes were an exciting affair with the 10 man side managing to create several chances but it was not to be.
RSL coach Jason Kries didn’t seem all that disappointed with the loss as he was pleased with the spirit of his players saying“All good things must come to an end, I guess. I’m not quite sure how to feel about it right now, I’ve been so focused on all of the small things going on with our team lately. In some strange way I’m pleased with a lot of the play, with the fight of the guys, with the mindset to keep going and never quit.”.
Man of the Match: Mike Fucito was all over the pitch. He created the foul that saw Olave sent off and was the thorn in the side of RSL the whole evening. Offense and defense, nothing was beyond him as his work rate outshone everyone else on the pitch.