Sounders draw on road with Chivas USA
The odds might have seemed stacked against Sounders FC. Playing in the same venue that housed its last competitive loss, Seattle played...
Seattle Times staff reporter
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CARSON, Calif. — The odds might have seemed stacked against Sounders FC.
Playing in the same venue that housed its last competitive loss, Seattle played a Chivas USA team it had never beaten — or scored against for that matter — Saturday night at The Home Depot Center. That negative history evenly canceled out a recent hot streak as the teams played to a 0-0 draw in front of 13,839 fans.
Sounders FC, which lost here to the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 on July 4, had its four-game winning streak in Major League Soccer broken but did improve a league unbeaten streak to six.
Seattle (8-8-5) had won three straight against Western Conference opponents. Players and coaches expressed mixed emotions after earning a point.
"We're not super thrilled with it, but we're not super disappointed either," coach Sigi Schmid said.
Added defender James Riley: "We'll take the point, but we know we could've had all three. That's the standard we hold ourselves to, especially in this last stretch."
The best chance for a game-winner came in the 88th minute, when Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso fired a rocket shot from 22 yards that seemed destined for the goal's upper corner but was expertly saved by the diving Chivas USA goalkeeper, Zach Thornton.
Seattle also narrowly missed a goal in the 61st minute when forward Blaise Nkufo swung in a beautiful cross, but a bouncing header by midfielder Sanna Nyassi was denied by the post.
"I didn't quite get it on my forehead, that's why I couldn't bang it in," Nyassi said.
Chivas USA (5-10-4) had a great attempt on goal in the 64th minute when newly acquired Venezuelan forward Giancarlo Maldonado rifled a low shot wide of the goal. Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller also came up big with second-half saves on midfielders Roger Espinoza and Paulo Nagamura.
"We've tightened it up very, very well," said Keller of the defense's fourth shutout in five games. "I'm happy with the way we've been able to kind of change our mentality."
Seattle outshot Chivas USA 5-1 in the first half, behind the three shots by forward Fredy Montero. The visitors survived a scare in the 38th minute when the Colombian forward collided with the 230-pound Thornton in the penalty box, but Montero was able to play on with a thigh bruise.
The impact forced a seven-minute delay in the first half. There was also stoppage moments earlier when Keller and stadium personnel had to clean up a barrage of streamers that had been thrown onto the field.
Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani, who has seven goals this season, didn't travel due to a pelvic strain. Uruguayan midfielder and designated player Alvaro Fernandez filled in, earning his first start of the season.
• Late in the game, Chivas USA defender Mariano Trujillo and Seattle's Leo Gonzalez were ejected for a physical confrontation that appeared to be one-sided against the Sounders FC defender. "I'm not quite sure why Leo got the red card," Schmid said in his player's defense.
• The two teams will meet again Sept. 1 in Tukwila in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUNDERS FC 0, CHIVAS USA 0
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
|Chivas USA||0 0 — 0|
Seattle — Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Nathan Sturgis, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi (Roger Levesque, 81st), Alvaro Fernandez (Miguel Montano, 67th), Osvaldo Alonso, Fredy Montero (Nate Jaqua, 86th), Blaise Nkufo.
Chivas USA — Zach Thornton, Mariano Trujillo, Dario Delgado, Ante Jazic (Jonathan Bornstein, 30th), Michael Umana, Michael Lahoud, Rodolfo Espinoza, Paulo Nagamura, Osael Romero (Giancarlo Maldonado, 46th), Justin Braun, Alan Gordon (Jesus Padilla, 79th).