Scoreless in Seattle
By MATT GASCHK
Sounders FC Insider
SEATTLE -- It was a physical meeting Saturday afternoon at Qwest Field as the Sounders FC met up with Toronto FC in front of 32,679. Seattle was looking to get on track at home, while Toronto was seeking revenge from a 2-0 home loss to the Sounders in April.
Neither got what they were looking for as they battled to a scoreless draw.
“It’s important that we sort it out,” Schmid said. “When you have one foot in a hole and one on a banana peel who’s the one who’s going to bring the rope?”
Freddie Ljungberg and Osvaldo Alonso managed three shots each and Dwayne De Rosario led Toronto with four. But Kasey Keller and Stefan Frei both kept the ball out of the net, earning the eighth shutout of the season for Keller and the fifth for Frei.
“There are some positives that come out of this game,” Keller said. “But, we want to obviously be an attacking team that makes things exciting for our home fans. That just hasn’t happened the last few games.”
Toronto FC set the tone early, as De Rosario got out on the run for a ball from Frei. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado slid to force him to the outside and Keller cut off his angle, leaving De Rosario with a shot outside the near post in the third minute.
Toronto’s string of offense continued throughout the first half as De Rosario found Chad Barrett for a diving header that was just wide of the net in the 22nd minute and Sam Cronin caught the cross-bar with a shot from distance one minute later.
“I thought they dominated the first half. We were lucky to be 0-0 at half,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Obviously, I’m not pleased and we could have played better. Some guys had to roll up their sleeves more than we expected. This was not one of our Top 10 performances.”
Seattle came out on fire in the second half, getting three great chances in a four-minute stretch. In the 61st minute, Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani worked a nifty give-and-go on the left side. Montero dropped the ball back to Osvaldo Alonso for a shot, but it missed wide.
In the 63rd minute, Freddie Ljungberg’s shot was punched over the bar by Frei and two minutes later his shot from distance went just wide of the net and the score remained tied at 0-0.
A physical game turned hairy in the 70th minute when Hurtado tackled De Rosario along the sideline. De Rosario stood up and shoved Hurtado, prompting a melee near the Toronto bench. Ljungberg was among those that charged into the fray and, along with De Rosario, was issued a yellow card on the play. Ljungberg’s yellow means he will miss Seattle’s next league game, a road match with DC United on Sept. 12.
“There had already been a couple occurrences where it appeared they pushed our guys into the boards. That wasn’t dealt with, so it was probably a push from us and De Rosario reacted,” Schmid said.
In the waning moments of the game, Seattle had three more good opportunities, as Alonso spun a bicycle kick wide in the 90th minute. Then Sebastien Le Toux touched a ball to Frei and Alonso missed on another scoring chance in stoppage time.
“Everybody is thinking at this time of the year that you got to get your form right to go into playoffs. Right now, we are not even a playoff team. We don’t have that form to even make the playoffs. It’s something we need to change quickly.”
The draw moves the Sounders to 8-6-10 on the season (34 points), just ahead of Chivas USA (10-8-3, 33 points) for third in the Western Conference standings. Toronto is 8-8-7 (31 points) and is third in the Eastern Conference.
Seattle’s next match is the US Open Cup final at RFK Stadium Wednesday night against DC United. They will return to DC for their next league match against United on Sept. 12.