SEATTLE — Penalty kick drama (or lack thereof) highlighted an uncharacteristically exciting scoreless draw as the Sounders slugged it out with Chivas USA to split the points in Seattle.
Often the hero for the hosts, Alvaro Fernandez looked to be right on track as the DP drew a first-half penalty after Michael Umana handled the ball in the area. However, the Uruguayan sent the ball off Dan Kennedy's left-hand post, back off the keeper's back and into touch for a corner kick in the 19th minute.
“I don’t think the problem had to do with the strength. It was more about the direction," said Fernandez. "I shot right into the post, it bounced back on the keeper and out. That’s how penalties go It was not kicked that badly, but it cost us two points.”
The penalty drama wasn't over, and as the match began to come to a close, Lamar Neagle wriggled his way into the opposing area and appeared to be up-ended by substitute David Junior Lopes. Replays seem to show contact between the two players, referee Kevin Stott waved away the protests and play resumed. Sounders midfielder Erik Friberg was booked for his protests in the aftermath of the drama.
“That kind of stuff happens, it is frustrating you know, but we had our penalty chance that we should have buried it, and multiple other chances," said goalkeeper Kasey Keller "And multiple other half-chances that our final pass to the box was off today. It’s got to be better. It’s got to be better if we want to make a run in the playoffs."
Chivas' Kennedy continued to grow throughout the match and produced two fine second-half saves on Pat Noonan and Fernandez to keep the visitors in the game and earn a big point on the road. Although Chivas USA tallied just four shots on goal, head coach Robin Fraser was pleased with the result.
"At the end of the day given the fact that both teams played well at times," said Fraser. "They created more dangerous chances than we did. Given all those facts I can live with one point."
The Sounders will now look ahead to their CONCACAF Champions League match on Tuesday against Comunicationes while Chivas USA travel to Dick's Sporting Goods Park to take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.