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Originally published September 2, 2012 at 6:46 PM | Page modified September 2, 2012 at 9:02 PM

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Michael Gspurning's big saves help Sounders preserve draw in Dallas

Gspurning had two big saves in the second half to help Seattle to a 1-1 tie.

Special to The Times

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It's not the ideal result but a point on the road against a resurgent Dallas team is a... MORE
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FRISCO, Texas — They may have been fatigued after a grueling week, and playing in scorching heat didn't help, but Sounders FC dug deep and managed to emerge with a 1-1 tie Sunday night against FC Dallas.

Following a 3-1 win in Trinidad over Caledonia AIA Thursday night in CONCACAF Champions League play, the Sounders (12-6-8) inevitably wore down in the 99-degree weather. But they displayed impressive grit as a nice goal from Mauro Rosales and a stellar five-save performance by goalkeeper Michael Gspurning helped them gain a point in the standings.

The draw leaves the Sounders with a 5-1-2 mark in their last eight MLS contests. They moved ahead Los Angeles into third in the Western Conference, two points behind second-place Real Salt Lake.

"For us, with what we've had to go through this week — with the travel and so-forth, the early morning airport calls, the lack of sleep the guys have had to deal with — I was very pleased at what we showed in terms of character and our morale," said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. Rosales provided Seattle's only scoring with his second goal of the season.

"I think it was a good point on the road for us," said Rosales. "I think the heat was enough for both teams, and we were coming from Trinidad and Tobago, a 10-hour flight, with delays and all that stuff, so I think we did a great job trying to win this game."

Rosales, who leads MLS with 13 assists, benefited from a beautiful setup in the 20th minute by Steve Zakuani, who was making his first start since April 22, 2011, a span of 500 days, following an extended recovery from a broken leg. Zakuani accelerated around Dallas defender Zach Loyd on the left side before delivering a perfect feed across the goal mouth to the charging Rosales for an easy tap-in at the right post.

"I knew that in this heat, I might just get one or two chances to run at the guy, so when it came, I took it," said Zakuani, who played 66 minutes. "I looked up and saw Mauro had made a good run to the back post and he was free, and it was up to me to find him. I managed to do that and Mauro made a very good finish."

Added Rosales: "It was a great assist from Stevie. I was just trying to put the ball in the net. It was good for me, but I'm not used to scoring. I prefer to make assists, but it was so great to see him back with the team at a good level. He worked so hard to get back."

Dallas tied it in the 32nd minute on Jackson's third goal of the year. Blas Perez delivered a nifty cross through the penalty area. just past the outstretched leg of defender Adam Johansson. It found Jackson running on to goal, and he redirected it home near the left post.

Seattle controlled the majority of the action through the first 20 minutes of the second half, but started to fade after that.

Gspurning was called upon to make a spectacular diving save on Jackson, who was in on goal alone, in the 69th minute to preserve the 1-1 tie.

"In this situation, if you get down 2-1, then it's tough to come back," Gspurning said. "I was standing big and waiting on what the striker was doing, then I had a quick reaction and I was happy that I made the save."

Seattle 1 0 — 1
FC Dallas 1 0 — 1
First half — 1, Seattle, Rosales 2 (Zakuani), 20th minute. 2, FC Dallas, Jackson 3 (Perez), 32nd.

Second half — None. Goalies — Seattle, Michael Gspurning; FC Dallas, Kevin Hartman. Shots — Seattle 8, FC Dallas 18. Shots on goal — Seattle 4, FC Dallas 7. Saves — Seattle 5, FC Dallas 3. Fouls — Seattle 20, FC Dallas 17. Corner kicks — Seattle 3, FC Dallas 6. Offsides — Seattle 4, FC Dallas 0. Yellow cards — Montero, Seattle, 30th; John, FC Dallas, 42nd; Jackson, FC Dallas, 56th; Gonzalez, Seattle, 72nd. Referee — Sorin Stoica. Assistant referees — Kermit Quisenberry. Jesse Johnson. 4th official — Hilario Grajeda. A — 12,811 (21,193).

Lineups

Seattle — Michael Gspurning, Jeff Parke, Adam Johansson, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco, 78th), Steve Zakuani (Alex Caskey, 66th), Christian Tiffert, Brad Evans (Marc Burch, 87th), Fredy Montero.

FC Dallas — Kevin Hartman, George John, Zach Loyd, Jair Benitez, Matt Hedges (Hernan Pertuz, 57th), Jackson, Andrew Jacobson (Daniel Hernandez, 63rd), David Ferreira, Julian De Guzman, Brek Shea (Carlos Rodriguez, 86th), Blas Perez.

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