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Originally published Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Kasey Keller still upset for receiving red card

Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller is still mad, mostly at himself, about drawing a red card last weekend and being forced to miss Saturday's game at Chivas USA.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Saturday

Sounders FC @ Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m., Ch. 5

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TUKWILA — Kasey Keller was his same old self during Sounders FC practice Tuesday, yelling instructions and encouragement in English and Spanish, bouncing on his toes as he watched the ball in front of him and lunging to make saves.

One would think that Keller, Seattle's captain and No. 1 goalkeeper, was just preparing for this weekend's game. But Keller can't play Saturday at Chivas USA after drawing a red card for what officials ruled was a handball outside the penalty area during Seattle's 1-0 loss to Kansas City last weekend.

Keller was asked if time had allowed the emotional wound of his ejection to subside.

"Oh no, I'm still pissed off," Keller said.

Keller is upset with himself after reviewing what happened on the play. He ran out to try to knock the ball away from an oncoming player with a clear shot on goal, and the ball was knocked off his arms as he tucked them in to avoid touching it. An assistant referee whistled Keller for the violation in the 29th minute, ending Keller's night and, by rule, forcing him out of the next game as part of the red-card penalty.

Upon further review, Keller admitted being upset with himself.

"I saw from myself that I was a little bit slow to get back into the position that I wanted to get into, and because of that, I was a little bit late coming out to the ball," he said.

Keller expressed some disappointment in the interpretation of the call, saying he was trying not to intentionally touch the ball with his hands. He said it's the type of ruling where half the time there is a red card, half the time there isn't.

"On the day, I was [red-carded], and I can't do anything about it," Keller said. "I'm just angry."

Not being able to play Saturday in a key early-season matchup between Seattle and Chivas USA, the top teams in Major League Soccer standings, upsets Keller more than getting a red card. But he feels confident Sounders FC can win.

"I thought we played extremely well with one man less," Keller said of the Kansas City match. "We were the better team. We had better scoring chances than we did against Salt Lake. On another day, we'd bury two or three of those and win the game comfortably."

The last time Keller was ejected came in a similar situation 17 years ago as goalkeeper for Millwall in England. His team led 1-0 in the 88th minute when Keller purposely touched the ball with his hands outside the 18-yard box to avoid a goal. He made the save and immediately walked off the field, knowing what was coming. Millwall survived with one less player and won.

Coach Sigi Schmid said he will decide near the end of the week between Chris Eylander and Ben Dragavon to replace Keller on Saturday.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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