FOXBORO, Mass. - All good things must come to an end. On Saturday night, that was the reality for the Sounders FC, who watched their unbeaten run of seven straight MLS matches finished off with a 3-1 loss to the New England Revolution in front of 13,124 at Gillette Stadium.
Steve Zakuani gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the 59th minute, but Seattle couldn’t hold on and allowed three goals in an 11-minute stretch to concede their first defeat since July 4 - a 3-1 road loss to the LA Galaxy.
“That was the worst ten minutes we played all year. That can’t happen again if we want to continue on,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “We’ve got to get this out and learn from it and if we don’t learn from it, then I’m sure there’ll be some changes.”
Keller made the first of his six saves in the second minute when Ilija Stolica got a shot away and Seattle’s defense continued to bend, but not break, through the first half and the game went to half with a 0-0 scoreline.
Zakuani then notched his eighth goal of the season early in the second half. James Riley threw the ball in for Roger Levesque, who touched it back to Riley against the right sideline. Riley then played it back to Alvaro Fernandez who sent it through for Riley on a run toward the box. He laid it back to Zakuani who took one touch, then blasted it inside the far post for the goal.
“If I can contribute scoring goals it helps the team. I don’t think it’s my main job for the team, but if I can score goals it’s going to be good for me,” said Zakuani, who hadn’t scored since a two-goal effort against the Colorado Rapids July 25. “I’d rather have won the game today and not scored.”
In the 69th minute, New England took a long throw-in that didn’t result in a goal, but was doubly important on the outcome of the game. Kevin Alston sent a ball in from the right side on a throw that was tipped to Chris Tierney at the far post, but Seattle had three defenders converge to prevent a goal and Tierney knocked it out of play.
New England was awarded a corner kick on the play and in the setup for the corner kick, Patrick Ianni and Shalrie Joseph came together in a small tussle in the box. It is unclear on the replays as to what Ianni did to Joseph, but the New England midfielder clearly takes a swing at Ianni in retaliation and both players went down.
After the ensuing mayhem on the field, New England took the corner kick and one moment later earned another throw-in from the same spot. Alston sent this one into the box and it bounced off of Joseph to Tierney at the far post. Keller beat him to the post, but Tierney sent it back to the opposite post for the goal, evening the score at 1-1 in the 70th minute.
“We haven’t made mistakes back there in a while. I didn’t think we defended the throw-in well. We just cleared one on the line right before and nobody took charge of it and figured out that they were going to do the same thing again.”
Just three minutes later, Marko Perovic got to a loose ball at the top of the Seattle box, but couldn’t control it and it bounced around, eventually popping off of Osvaldo Alonso’s foot and back toward Seattle’s goal. Perovic got to the ball before Seattle could respond and poked it into the net for a 2-1 lead in the 73rd minute.
Then in the 81st minute Kheli Dube added his first goal of the season on a blast on the run to give New England the final 3-1 edge.
“I don’t know what happened. We just uncharacteristically just absolutely fell apart after we scored our goal,” Keller said. “They picked up the pace and we melted, which is just not like us.”
The Sounders will look to bounce back on Thursday against Real Salt Lake at Qwest Field.
“We’re going to find out how good we really are by how we recover from this adversity,” Zakuani said. “The last time we lost was to LA, 3-1 as well. And then we went on a seven game unbeaten run. We can do the same thing. We’re still in a very strong position. It’s tough to swallow, but we’re already focused on Salt Lake.”
Kickoff is set for 8 pm in a nationally televised contest on ESPN2.
Sounders FC - Steve Zakuani (James Riley, Alvaro Fernandez) 59
Revolution - Chris Tierney (Shalrie Joseph, Kevin Alston) 70; Marko Perovic 73; Kheli Dube (Ilja Stolica, Perovic) 81.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (Nate Jaqua 73), Osvaldo Alonso, Mike Seamon (Mike Fucito 82), Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero, Roger Levesque.
Revolution - Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Emmanuel Osei, Seth Sinovic, Kheli Dube, Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan, Chris Tierney, Marko Perovic, Ilija Stolica (Zack Schilawski 82).
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