By JOSE M. ROMERO
Kasey Keller's diving save of a Robbie Findley penalty kick in the 32nd minute salvaged a point for the Seattle Sounders in their scoreless draw Thursday night with defending MLS champion Real Salt Lake.
Keller guessed correctly on Findley's PK and the ball was cleared away. Jeff Parke was whistled for fouling Findley in the box moments before. "I didn't hit it that well and he made a good save," Findley said of Keller. "Nothing more than that really."
Though it wasn't the prettiest of matches, with players from both teams colliding with teammates or making bad decisions on and off the ball, each team had moments. RSL's best was the Findley PK, while the Sounders had the ball in the final third of RSL's end of the field throughout the game but ruined their own chances for more good shots because of poor touches and passing. It also looked like Seattle's players were a tad bit slower to the ball than normal.
"For whatever reason, all of our passing was disjointed and we didn't click in that regard," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said.
Toward the end, RSL played for the draw and got it on the same pitch where it won the league championship last November. Salt Lake got the draw in front of another full house at Qwest Field with Kyle Reynish in goal for only his second game of the season, and without the availability of one of its top scorers, Fabian Espindola.
Seattle was without forward Blaise N'kufo and defender James Riley. Zach Scott held his own at right back in place of Riley for the Sounders.
The Sounders (9-9-6) maintained hold of a wild-card playoff spot with 33 points. Real Salt Lake (12-4-8) moved into a tie with the L.A. Galaxy for first place in the West at 44 points, but has played one more game than the Galaxy.
Catching Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference standings is a longshot for the Sounders, but strengthening their playoff position is within the Sounders' reach. From that perspective, three points would have helped Seattle more than RSL Thursday. Real Salt Lake remains in contention for the Supporters Shield.
Osvaldo Alonso played well for the Sounders, the midfielder getting a good strike on a ball in the second half that narrowly went over the the goal. RSL has an eight-game unbeaten streak, and 44 points is a new season high for the club.
"This is a tough place to play, now they're getting desperate with the playoffs," RSL's Kyle Beckerman said. "We were able to match their intensity and knew that in the 75th minute we could get out of here with a draw."
Agree first half was better with RSL showing some good control in the midfield, Gonzales played a great match and Schuler was a strong at center back.
Second half pretty much sucked. Overall RSL got another point on the road which is always good.
I thought the passing and possession for Seattle was decent. Just no finishing ability in the final third.
I thought the first half was very entertaining, but the second half really took a nose dive, as far as quality passing and attacking goes.
Unfortunately, RSL seemed to change at the half from wanting the full 3 points to being content with the draw. It made for some ugly soccer.
I totally agree. I thought with Beckerman and Morales RSL would dominate the midfield, but Alonso is super tough though. Nevertheless there was absolutely no creativity in the midfield. Seattle needs to try Fernandez in the middle because Sturgis is just not creating opportunities.
The passing was horrible. The midfield was just something to knock long balls over.
Both teams could barely string four passes together. No wonder they couldn’t score.
Yeah…I haven’t watched every seattle game since the arrival of N’kufo, but he has not impressed me at all.
It varies week to week. Some weeks have a ridiculous amount of goals and some have very few. Thats the way soccer is.
N’Kufo is no where near good enough to play in my opinion.
They have him out as “injured”, probably the same injury that Ljungberg had earlier this season.
RSL started with 6 reserves last night.
The game had it’s ugly moments, but overall it was very energetic. RSL possessed the ball well at times, Seattle’s counter was pretty quick. It was a good fight.
The Chicago/Toronto game on Wednesday was pretty much the same waste of time. What is the problem with MLS teams and midweek games?
Because there are no 0-0 ties in any other league in the world? I watch a lot of European and English football and there are a ton of low scoring/ 0 scoring games.
Having speed just for speed’s sake is a ridiculous reason to pick a player, as you can see by his time on the field. Yes the forward pool is not that great, but Findley was not a starter. I would rather have had EJ, as he was starting and scoring in Greece at the time. Oh well hindsight is 20/20.
The lack of scoring/attacking creativity in the MLS is a real concern for me. This is getting ridiculous with all these 0-0 ties! I mean why can’t anyone in this league score a freakin goal! Henry can only muster 1 goal. I don’t quite get it. It is definitely a concern that the MLS as a whole needs to address.
Another game both teams deserved to lose. What a horrible display.
1. I wish the haters would get over it. I’m not a big RF fan. But his selection made a certain amount of sense (you want a speed option on the team, just like Bora picked Cobi Jones for the 2004 WC side) and look what our alternatives for speed off the bench were at the time: EJ, RF, Jeff Cunningham and um., er…that’s it folks. I think you close your eyes and throw a dart (and in this case it ended up RF). Or you decide that at a level where speed matters, you’re just not going to have a speed option off the bench. RF on the national team for South Africa is really a statement about the US forward pool. It’s not like Findlay was chosen over another speedster who had 10 goals in league play at the time.
2. I haven’t seen Seattle lately and I wonder how N’kufo is working out for them.
What exactly does that have to do with Robbie FindlEy? You’d think that all you haters could at least get his name right, since you seem to obsess over him night and day.
Robbie Findlay – National Team Striker!