Sounders FC settles for a draw with D.C. United
Heading on the road in MLS play for the first time in 2012, Seattle Sounders FC picked up a point in a 0-0 draw against D.C. United.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seattle Sounders FC defender Marc Burch missed a chance to punish his old team by a matter of inches.
Entering Saturday's 0-0 draw against D.C. United in the 89th minute, Burch, who played for D.C. from 2007 to 2011, pounced on the rebound of Osvaldo Alonso's well-struck volley, but his follow-up header hit the post in extra time, denying Seattle a last-gasp winner.
"I just overran it a little bit," Burch said after the game. "I knew Ozzie was going to strike it well so I just took off and if I would have just hesitated for a second I could have brought it down."
The near miss, combined with a solid performance from Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, resulted in the scoreless draw in Seattle's first road game of the season. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid was pleased with the response to the team's first loss of the season last weekend against San Jose.
"I thought that the battle that we showed was very good," he said. "Basically we talked about that, we talked about being the team that was hungrier. I thought San Jose outcompeted us a little bit, so we wanted to make sure we came in and we competed. I thought we did that from the opening whistle to the end."
From the onset, early scoring opportunities were limited. Seattle nearly conceded the first goal of the game when Hamdi Salihi's shot from inside the penalty area hit the cross bar in the 23rd minute.
After Salihi's miss, Seattle turned the pressure up, but couldn't test D.C. goalkeeper Joe Willis. Brad Evans flashed a header over the goal, and Montero deflected David Estrada's well-struck volley wide of the frame in the 34th minute.
Tidy defensive work from Alonso helped stymie D.C.'s attack. Schmid was pleased with how Alonso slowed down 2011 MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario.
"I thought he did a good job shutting [De Rosario] down and eventually they moved DeRo up away from Ozzie," Schmid said.
Gspurning was called into action on a number of occasions in the second half to keep the score level, and he tipped over a looping header in the 51st minute. Seattle easily cleared the ensuing corner and counter-attacked with D.C. forward, but Alvaro Fernanadez couldn't pick out Estrada in the box with his cross.
Estrada eventually made way for forward Eddie Johnson in the 66th minute, signaling Johnson's Sounders debut.
Gspurning was called into action again in the 69th minute to punch away a free kick by United midfielder Nick DeLeon. Five minutes after that, D.C. nearly scored when substitute Chris Pontius wove his way through Seattle's defense but shot wide.
After Burch entered to a chorus of boos, Seattle stepped the pressure up. That created the final flurry that ended in Burch hitting the post, as he nearly played the role of hero for his new team.
"It would have been a dream moment for Marc," Schmid said. "Obviously the shot was well hit, Willis couldn't hold it, the rebound comes right to him and he hits the post. If that goes five inches to the right, he ends up with a goal. He'd welcome all those boos again."
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
|D.C. United||0 0 — 0|
Seattle — Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Marc Burch, 90th+), Osvaldo Alonso, Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero, David Estrada (Eddie Johnson, 66th).
D.C. United — Joe Willis, Dejan Jakovic, Robbie Russell (Chris Korb, 74th), Emiliano Dudar, Daniel Woolard, Nick DeLeon, Dwayne De Rosario, Danny Cruz (Chris Pontius, 59th), Perry Kitchen, Hamdi Salihi (Branko Boskovic, 72nd), Maicon Santos.