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Levesque, Seattle keep up success in D.C.



WASHINGTON – There's something about late-game situations at RFK Stadium that brings the best out of Roger Levesque.

Levesque, who scored the cup-clinching goal for the Seattle Sounders against D.C. United late in last year's U.S. Open Cup final, headed home a Fredy Montero cross in the 89th minute, as the Sounders improved to 3-0 all-time at D.C. with a 1-0 victory Thursday night.

Seattle's newest Designated Player, Blaise N'Kufo, didn't play after only training with the Sounders once in his short time with the team. He will take the starting forward position aside Montero once deemed ready, but as it turned out, the Sounders (5-8-4) didn't need N'Kufo in order to take the three road points Thursday.

They just needed more late heroics from Levesque and a mammoth performance in goal by a hobbled Kasey Keller.

"The three points is everything," Keller said. "We've needed something to go our way. We've played well enough to win games, and we've given up late goals for draws. Our attitude's been changing the last three-four games, and we're definitely moving in the right direction."

Keller was injured in the 65th minute when he came out of the box to try and beat Andy Najar to a long ball down the right side. Both players slid for the ball, and Najar appeared to catch Keller's ankle in the process.

Play continued, with Santino Quaranta's chip toward a seemingly open net headed off the line and out of play by Patrick Ianni while Keller stayed on the ground some 20 yards from goal.

He remained in the game and was immediately tested on the ensuing corner kick, as new D.C. acquisition Pablo Hernandez got two looks from close range, both of which were stopped by the 40-year-old keeper.

Keller was also able to get his fingertips on a goal-bound, Quaranta blast from distance in the 76th minute, and he prevented an own-goal with a diving stop off a twice-deflected cross 10 minutes later.

"Kasey made some great saves playing on a bum ankle," Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said.

Keller suffered a right mid-foot sprain according to Sounders officials, but he toughed it out to save Seattle its final substitution.

That substitute, Sanna Nyassi, came on in the 88th minute and spearheaded the scoring play with a steal deep in D.C. territory.

"Sanna was instrumental in the goal, and if I had come off, he wouldn't have been able to come on," said Keller, who had a bag of ice wrapped around his right foot after the match. "I didn't want to waste a sub on a goalkeeper, so I'm just glad I was able to get through that."

Nyassi stole the ball from Jordan Graye and eventually touched it to the right for Montero, whose cross to the far post from near the end line found a diving Levesque for a pinpoint header.

"It just got over their defender, and all I was trying to do was put it on frame," Levesque said.

The defender, Dejan Jakovic, combined with Julius James to take the sting out of the Sounders' attack for the bulk of the evening. Both players had come up with multiple tackles and steals to hold off continued threats from Montero and Steve Zakuani, but the final sequence rendered all that moot.

"It was a bad giveaway and then the ball goes down the line and somehow just gets a loop over, and at the last second I didn't even see where the forward was," Jakovic said. "He just kind of beat me to it. It's very frustrating. We've got to keep our heads up and move on." 

D.C. (3-10-3) was able to integrate its two newest players into the match, with Hernandez entering as a 56th-minute replacement for Jaime Moreno and Designated Player Branko Boskovic coming on for Stephen King at central midfield in the 72nd.

Boskovic didn't have a ton of time to make his mark, though his touch was clean and confident. His first pass set up Chris Pontius in an attacking position down the center of the field.

"I need to keep playing, and I hope the next game I am physically much better," Boskovic said. "I've come here to win."

There's hardly any time for D.C. to soak in the loss, the latest in a string of tough 2010 defeats, as the MLS-best Los Angeles Galaxy come to town on Sunday.

"We gave away a terrible ball to give away in our part of the field and we got punished," D.C. coach Curt Onalfo said. "We've got to lick our wounds and keep progressing."

Here are highlights from Thursday night's match:



Though N'Kufo was only able to watch his new team from the sideline in his first match as a Sounder, he was impressed with what he saw.

"My first impression was good. I saw tonight a good team that believed that they could win the game until the end," N'Kufo said. "We showed good spirit and character.

"It was a possibility that I would come on, but I just trained for the first time yesterday after 15 days off.

"To join my new team, I was expecting this for a while, and I'm happy to be here. I'm looking forward to playing my first game. As I can see, the players are good, they wished me a good welcome and I'm really excited to play."

Said Schmid: "I want him to see the game up close and not throw him in there yet. For him to be around the team these last few days has been good."

As for being a part of the only team to beat the World Cup champions this summer, N'Kufo said, "It's a part of history that we were the team to beat Spain. Spain was the best team in this World Cup and the last two years they were the best team, too."


What are your thoughts about the match? Disappointed that N'Kufo didn't play? Think this victory will springboard Seattle to a winning streak? Do you see D.C. bouncing back to defeat the Galaxy on Sunday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Emerald City Brother, I agree with you about supporting league wide attendance but with all due respect, three out of four of those descriptors–crap weather, weeknight during vacation, struggling team–could apply to Seattle on any given home game night this summer and the Sounders would still draw 35K. Why is it Seattle gets this right and most of the rest of the league draws like a AAA baseball team….it can’t just be product….

  2. Despite all the sniping that goes on around the web, all MLS fans really need to pull for good attendance and ratings in every MLS city. Considering the context (crap stadium, crap weather, weeknight during vacation season, struggling team), I’ll take 13.7k.

  3. Thanks for the class, and agree about the booing of Keller. Absolutely poor form from those fans.

    I’m actually shocked that a Seattle is willing to give another team kudos for attendance, especially when we only draw about 13k.

  4. Which means what? Red Bull fans only travel when it’s free? Not sure I understand your comparison: five hour free bus ride vs. five hour $400 flight.

    35K Sounder fans at all home games for a team barely out of last place.

  5. Boo to the DC fans that booed Keller. Man is USMNT legend and does not fake injuries. Step off.

    On the other hand, kudos for the decent attendance on a muggy weeknight in the midst of a dismal season. Hope y’all get your stadium situation figured out.

  6. What you didn’t see on TV was that the side of the stadium the cameras are on was not very probably half full, if that. RFK is such a hole.

  7. By “several media outlets” you really mean one article? I googled it and it said he could also be headed back to play in Brazil. Your dead wrong, he’s not resigning with Milan. His time is up, he knows it. He will likely play for the Galaxy in the MLS or potentially move back to Brazil and play for a club there.

  8. I’m a Sounders fan but DCU was my favorite MLS club before we got a team up here. Really bums me out to see the fans so down. I know the crowd was a little bit small, Thursday game and all, but thought RFK looked/sounded great on TV. I think Boskovic and Hernandez will be good signings. With Najar, Pontius, James, Quaranta, the future still looks bright to me.

    I know it’s impossible but I wish you guys could just buy RFK and fix it up somehow.

  9. Sounders are better off without Ljungberg, but we knew that BEFORE he sat.

    If I had a dime every time Roger scored a late winning goal….I would have thirty cents….but with a LOT of great memories !

  10. Granted there were a number of Sounder fans but it doesn’t come close to the thousands of NYRB fans that came down on free buses when Red Bull played their first game at RFK.

  11. Did I try to argue that anywhere in my post? I talked about the Red Bulls more than the Shiattle.

    And, for the record, you’ve never beaten us at Qwest. Touche.

  12. United are in shambles. We used to be the class of the league, and now, we’re probably comparable to Kansas City (if even; at least they have a stadium on the way). We need change. Now. The entire FO needs to go; they’ve been failing for too many years now.

    I hate to say it, but we need to model the Pink Cows. They are running a class example of an MLS franchise with a gorgeous new stadium, great coach, and a solid lineup anchored by the two best strikers in the league up top (unless LD counts as a striker, in which case, NYRB has 2 of the best 3). They get Henry, and we get…Boskovic?? Really? We have to do better than that. I’ll gladly eat my words if he ends up being a star, but he didn’t do much against the Flounders. Yes, it was his first game, but I just have no faith in anyone wearing black and red anymore.

    What a terrible time to be a DCU fan.

  13. Not going to lie. I almost fell asleep while standing up last night at the game, and I wasn’t drunk. DC United are so dull and lack so much offensive fire power. Jaime Moreno needs to retire, he was a waste. Boskovic is a good deep-lying midfielder who has good vision, touch and loads of confidence. Hernandez was pretty good as well, just not on the same page with the rest of the boys. Andy Najar is legit.

    We’ve scored 11 goals and have allowed 26 in 16 games. Pathetic.

  14. notice that there are huge audible cheers in the highlights when levesque scores… Seattle has the best fans, even in DC.

  15. Nevermind — my bad. Ronaldinho did not re-sign. But I saw at least one article saying he has agreed to stay at AC Milan for his final year under contract.

  16. Can we put this to bed already? Ronaldinho just re-signed with AC Milan. I’m not going to put links up here, but Google it and you’ll get several media outlets reporting that he just signed for $30M.


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