Another home match, another tie for Sounders FC
Seattle has more chances, but settles for scoreless tie with Chivas USA
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Sounders FC had a chance to take a big step toward making the Major League Soccer playoffs with a win over Chivas USA Saturday afternoon at Qwest Field.
Instead it came away with the all-too-familiar scoreless home draw, and the visitors from Southern California, also in the playoff chase, can thank their goalkeeper, MLS All-Star Zach Thornton, for salvaging a point on the road.
Sounders FC has gone winless in its past four home matches — scoreless ties against Chicago, Toronto FC and Chivas USA and a 1-0 loss to New England — and if not for its recent good play on the road, wouldn't be in the playoff picture.
Playing its second-to-last regular-season home game, Seattle figured to get an emotional lift from pregame ceremonies honoring the former North American Soccer League Sounders and the hoisting of a 2009 U.S. Open Cup championship banner. However, despite having a man advantage for more than 20 minutes of the second half and generating more scoring chances, the result was 0-0.
"It's frustrating, but what are you going to do, stop creating chances?" Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said after the game. "For some reason at home right now ... maybe there's some cellophane around the goals."
Thornton was the real goal blockage. A mountain of a man, listed at 6 feet 3 and 230 pounds but appearing much wider and bigger than that, he stonewalled Seattle with six saves, three that were most noteworthy.
As has always been the case in home games in its inaugural season, Sounders FC had more scoring opportunities than its opponent, and rookie midfielder Steve Zakuani's speed was factor in a few of those. Zakuani's header on goal in the 49th minute was saved by Thornton, who thwarted Sebastien Le Toux in similar fashion after Le Toux fired on the net from close range in the 15th minute.
"I thought the ball was in," Le Toux said. "I was a little bit disappointed. Maybe if I scored this one, it changes the game."
"Nothing you can do about that," Zakuani said.
The drama built in the second half. In the 60th minute, forward Fredy Montero tried a bicycle kick off a deflected ball that went wide. As Sounders FC turned up the pressure on its opponent, Chivas USA defender Marcelo Saragosa was sent off for a red card after kicking too high and hitting Montero in the jaw with a boot.
Sounders FC made run after run with its extra attacker, and in the 83rd minute, Montero controlled a pass and took a shot on Thornton, who once again came up with a big save.
"The team played very well and we showed desire," Montero said. "He's a good goalkeeper. He got the clean sheet, even though our keeper didn't have a dangerous ball and left with a clean uniform."
In the 88th minute, Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans, a late substitution, drew contact in the penalty area, but the Chivas defender appeared to get his hands up and off Evans before getting a foul that would have resulted in a penalty kick. The game went into three minutes of extra time, and Seattle simply couldn't score. It now plays the next three matches on the road.
"Maybe if I go down a little bit earlier I get the call," Evans said.
Seattle (9-6-11) moved to 38 points after 26 games played and is still in contention for the postseason; however 10 other MLS teams are also in position to end up in the top eight in the league and get a playoff spot. Chivas USA has 37 points but has played two fewer games, giving it an advantage.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
|Chivas USA||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
Chivas USA — Zach Thornton, Paulo Nagamura, Sacha Kljestan, Jonathan Bornstein, Maicon Santos, Jesus Padilla (Maykel Galindo, 59th), Justin Braun, Michael Lahoud (Mariano Trujillo, 58th), Yamith Cuesta (Claudio Suarez, 66th), Marcelo Saragosa, Ante Jazic.
Seattle — Kasey Keller, Peter Vagenas (Nate Jaqua, 76th), James Riley, Freddie Ljungberg, Steve Zakuani, Leo Gonzalez, Sebastien Le Toux (Brad Evans, 63rd), Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall, Fredy Montero.
UPDATE - 8:54 PM
Sounders lose to another expansion team
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.