A slightly shorthanded Sounders team lost 2-1 to now first place Real Salt Lake Saturday afternoon. Seattle tried to mount a spirited comeback, but was unable to convert. With the win, Salt Lake have 42 points (24 games played) and the Sounders have 41 points (22 games played)
The first 30 minutes was dominated by Salt Lake. They created many chances and held the ball over 60% of the time. During the last 15 minutes, the Sounders were able to counterattack with numbers and created a handful of chances. Even though the Sounders didn’t start well, the halftime score remained scoreless. Coach Sigi Schmid was pleased with the performance. He remarked the Salt Lake have been statistically the most dangerous first half team in the MLS, so he was looking forward to the Sounders creating more chances in the second half. Well, Sigi, it didn’t all go as planned.
The scoring opened in the 53rd minute as Joao Plata connected with a cross and hit a strong header past Stefan Frei. Only four minutes later, a messy scramble inside the box led to Ozzie Alonso scoring on his own goal (Whoops!) that saw Salt Lake go two goals clear. The Sounders ramped up the pressure after Chad Barrett came on for Lamar Neagle, and finally got on the scoreboard after 72 minutes. After another messy scramble (this time in the Salt Lake box) Andy Rose had a free header on goal, but hit the post. Luckily Chad Barrett was on hand to clean up the mess.
The Sounders had many shots after the goal, and Clint Dempsey tried hard a couple times with his left foot, but missed wide both times. This loss means the Sounders are in second place, but still control their own destiny as they’ve played less games.
With 12 games left for Seattle, the defense needs to find some rhythm. Chad Marshall looks best and most comfortable with Djimi Traore starting alongside him. Also, with Obafemi Martins and Marco Pappa in the lineup, the Sounders have much more creativity and firepower. Despite the recent struggles, we’ll rebound and finish atop the West (knock on wood).
Here are the highlights from tonight’s match:
Upcoming match for the Sounders: Seattle vs. San Jose, August 20th 7:00 P.M