Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Sounders rally but fall short
by Ridge Mahoney, November 3rd, 2011 1:54AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, real salt lake, seattle sounders

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PLAYOFFS: Seattle-Real Salt Lake] Seattle's desperate attempt to overturn a three-goal deficit from the first leg of their conference semifinal series against Real Salt Lake fell just short. The 2-0 victory at CenturyLink Field Wednesday night sent RSL through on a 3-2 aggregate to play either New York or Los Angeles on Sunday.

LINEUP DECISIONS. Quadriceps injuries to centerbacks Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers left Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis with limited options. Chris Schuler, who replaced Olave in the first leg, started in the middle alongside Chris Wingert, the team’s starting left back for the past few seasons who played in the middle at St. John’s University.

Seattle coach Sigi Schmid decided to leave Mauro Rosales, who re-injured his strained MCL in the regular-season finale against Chivas USA, out of the lineup. He needed to use two substitutes in the first half, when hamstring injuries knocked out Alvaro Fernandez and Brad Evans. They were replaced, respectively, by Lamar Neagle and Roger Levesque.

BIG SAVE. RSL goalie Nick Rimando recorded six saves as Seattle pounded out a 17-4 advantage in shots, yet the most important save came off the head of RSL’s Tony Beltran, who got the start at left back when Kreis moved Wingert into the middle.

In the 36th minute, defender Jeff Parke  hit a searing shot on goal that Beltran, dropping back to cover the net with goalie Nick Rimando out of position, diverted with his head by leaning, off-balance, into the shot’s path. Parke fell to his knees and teammates held their faces in disbelief at Beltran's amazing feat.

BREAKTHROUGH. The Sounders’ chances of pulling off a remarkable turnaround could have been enhanced with a first-half goal but despite piling on pressure in a driving rain, the first half ended, 0-0. Without Fernandez and Rosales, Fredy Montero and Erik Friberg drove the attack and neither found his best shooting form. Friberg skied two shots from medium range and while Montero played a more aggressive and prominent role than he had in the first leg, he also labored.

Seattle’s waves of attacks paid off early in the second half when Betran dragged down Mike Fucito in the box and Osvaldo Alsonso drove his penalty kick under Rimando.  Seven minutes later, with half an hour still to play, Neagle placed a feed from Montero into the bottom corner beyond Rimando to fuel a frenzied celebration from the crowd of 36,021 fans.

FAREWELL. Kasey Keller, playing in what turned out to be his last professional match, kept Seattle in the game with a solid block of Fabian Espindola’s blast in the 79th minute. The power of the shot knocked Keller off balance but his hand on the ball to force it over the crossbar and maintain the one-goal difference on aggregate. It was Keller’s only save of the night. With placards and posters bearing his name and No. 18 dotting most of the sections, he marked the last dance with a memorable moment for his hometown team.

AFTERMATH.  At the start of the season, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said that in this third year of his tenure he expected to win MLS Cup. Injuries to Steve Zakuani, O’Brian White and Rosales significantly impaired the Sounders, which nevertheless won the U.S. Open Cup for a third straight year and qualified for the Champions League quarterfinals. That would seem sufficient reason for another shot, but no matter who coaches in 2012, filling that hole in goal is job one.



0 comments
  1. Jack Aldridge
    commented on: November 3, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
    That's a real shame. Despite living in Vancouver and cheering for the Whitecaps first, Sounders were our neighbours and we often made the two hour trek to watch live Futbal and cheer them on. Was hoping to cheer them on to the MLS Final...

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: November 3, 2011 at 5:58 p.m.
    Jack, the shame is that the game plan was pitiful and the team never showed up; in the second half Sigi should have bunkered.

  1. tim self
    commented on: November 3, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.
    Good effort in the end. Bring back Sigi, promote Keller to assistant with Smetzer. Go get Seattle product Marques Hannaman. We needed our outside midfielders badly.


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
A back-heel sombrero from Greek boy     
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Greek youth soccer, in a game between AO Ioannina and Agia Eleousa, delivers ...
What They're Saying: Jose Mourinho    
"Obviously they must be very sad with the result but when we lose against a team ...
Report: W-League champion Pali Blues are folding    
The LA Blues won W-League titles as the Pali Blues in 2009, 2009 and 2013 and ...
The Messi files: Eight amazing scoring records    
Lionel Messi holds all the single-season scoring records. Now, he is cleaning up on the all-time ...
Mulroy departs NASL runner-up Ft. Lauderdale Strikers    
Tommy Mulroy, the longtime soccer promoter, is out as the president of the NASL Ft. Lauderdale ...
Business Reporter: adidas to open store in Orlando stadium    
MLS sponsor adidas will operate the league's first in-stadium store starting in 2016 with the opening ...
Three takeaways from Manchester City-Bayern Munich     
The Champions League actually includes runners-up and third- and fourth-place finishers, but this Group E game ...
Marshall becomes first three-time top MLS defender    
In his first season with the Seattle Sounders, Chad Marshall has been named the MLS Defender ...
Copa America: Brazil and Colombia will meet again    
Brazil and Colombia, which faced each other in a hotly contested quarterfinal match at the 2014 ...
Referees grab the spotlight in MLS playoffs    
If the goal of a referee is to go unnoticed, the two referees in Sunday's MLS ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives