MLS Playoffs: Real Salt Lake advances without taking a single shot in 120 minutes

The sixth and final Round One game in the MLS playoffs was an exercise in futility.

Playing before the largest MLS playoff crowd in two years, the Seattle Sounders fired off 21 shots but only managed to put three of them on target and didn't score.

Real Salt Lake didn't manage a single shot in 120 minutes of regulation and overtime.

Amazingly, RSL advanced, converting all six penalty kicks and winning the shootout, 6-5, when 20-year-old goalkeeper David Ochoa stopped Kelyn Rowe's attempt in the sixth round.

Seattle was beset by injuries all season, and they caught up with them late in the season. The Sounders finished third in the overall standings -- which qualified them for the 2022 Concacaf Champions League -- but failed to win a game following the resumption of MLS play after the October international break.

Raul Ruidiaz, who was coming off a hamstring strain, entered the match at halftime, while Nicolas Lodeiro did not enter the until overtime. Jordan Morris, the Sounders' third 2020 MLS Best XI pick, started his first game of the season after returning from a knee injury while on loan to Swansea City in February.

The truth is, the Sounders did not do enough to win the game. Their best chance came in the 73rd minute when Ruidiaz rattled a volley off the crossbar. Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said the 21-0 edge in shots and 15-1 edge in corner kicks meant nothing.

"Throw all those stats out the window," he said afterwards. "I didn’t think we had it in the final third. I think we failed at getting it all to mesh."

The loss eliminated the Sounders before the final eight for the first time in 13 MLS seasons and snapped their league-record 15-game playoff winning streak at home.

Nov. 23 in Seattle
Seattle 0 Real Salt Lake 0.
Seattle -- Frei; Yeimar, Arreaga (Cissoko 120), O’Neill; Rowe, C.Roldan, Joao Paulo, Smith (Atencio 91); Benezet (A.Roldan 83), Morris (Lodeiro 103); Montero (Ruidiaz 46).
Real Salt Lake -- Ochoa; Herrera, Glad, Silva, Brody (Morgan 106); Everton Luiz, Ruiz; Menendez (Meram 63), Kreilach, Chang (Julio 80); Rubin (Wood 74).
Att.: 34,012.
(Real Salt Lake wins 6-5 on penalties.)

Photo: Lindsey Wasson / Sounders FC Communications

3 comments about "MLS Playoffs: Real Salt Lake advances without taking a single shot in 120 minutes".
  1. humble 1, November 24, 2021 at 10:22 a.m.

    Reprive for the 'interim' coach Mastroeni, would have been interesting to read his thoughts on the game. Aaron Herrera of RSL, great individual performance from a top lad.  He coached my son at a University of New Mexico soccer camp in his last year of school.  Back four were 3 Americans and a Uruguayan with keeper American also.  Well done!  Hats off!  Class. Keep it going!     

  2. Wallace Wade, November 24, 2021 at 12:52 p.m.

    The headline says it all. It happens. Good luck to RSL moving forward. Lady Luck probably won't smile on them again. 

  3. stewart hayes, November 25, 2021 at 12:26 p.m.

    Sometimes trying hard and dominating the game is not enough.  I don't believe either team missed a penalty either.  They were all well taken.  Maybe RSL can go all the way without taking a shot.  

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