Sounders settle for third straight draw
BY MATT GASCHK
Sounders FC Insider
FRISCO, TEX. – The Sounders FC controlled possession for most of the first half and had several opportunities to take advantage of a struggling FC Dallas team at Pizza Hut Park. They were only able to manage one score though and Dallas responded with a goal of their own just before halftime and Seattle was left with a 1-1 draw for the third consecutive week.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado scored his first career MLS goal on his 25th birthday off of a leaping, high-lobbing shot in the 18th minute and Kasey Keller finished with four saves, all in the second half, as Seattle is now 4-2-3 on the season. Dallas moved to 1-6-2 in front of 8,247 at their home field.
Already playing without right back James Riley because of a red-card suspension, the Sounders also played without starting left back Nathan Sturgis because of a hamstring injury and playmaking midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, who suffered a migraine headache Friday and remained in Seattle. Add to that Zach Scott’s early departure because of an abdominal strain and Seattle had a tough task against a hungry Dallas team that had lost three straight games.
It looked like they would take advantage early as Steve Zakuani got deep into the Dallas defense from the left wing, but Seattle couldn’t find the right side of his crosses to the middle.
In the 18th minute, Hurtado capitalized, though.
Seattle played a ball forward to Nate Jaqua for a header that arced to Hurtado just outside the box. He leapt and threw his right foot into the air to connect and knock the ball over the outstretched arms of Dallas goalkeeper Ray Burse, dropping a bowing shot into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Seattle nearly added to the lead in the 21st minute when Zakuani sent another cross into the box from the left side, but Nate Jaqua’s shot fell just wide of the near post.
Their next great chance came in the 36th minute when Brad Evans took a pass on the run up the middle. He tried to chip it over Burse’s head too, but his shot clanged off the left post and was cleared by Dallas. Two minutes later, Zakuani crossed up Marcelo Saragosa by switching to his right foot and blasted a shot from 12 yards out, but it went high. Sebastien Le Toux had another opportunity go wide moments into first-half stoppage time.
Hurtado and Tyrone Marshall combined to lock down FC Dallas’ attacking tandem of Kenny Cooper and Jeff Cunningham, though Cunningham was taken off in the 24th minute with a hip injury.
It wasn’t enough to hold off their late charge in the first half though. After two minutes of stoppage time, Saragosa sent a ball into the box, where Andre Rocha got behind the Sounders defense. Rocha poked it past Keller for his second goal of the season, evening the score at 1-1 just before the halftime whistle.
The two teams traded second half opportunities, but neither could capitalize and they had to settle for the 1-1 draw. The Sounders next game is on the road Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.