SANDY, Utah – The last time the Sounders FC faced Real Salt Lake, Seattle was on top of the world. In just their second game, they had taken the league by storm and were in the midst of a three-game win streak to start the season.
After their 1-0 loss to RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, the Sounders are now winless in their last three league matches.
“You have to work extremely hard and you can’t get out-worked by the opponent, you have to be extremely disciplined. We got out-worked tonight. I thought [RSL] were really aggressive and when those things happen you have to be really good, and we weren’t today.”
After a back-and-forth first half, Real Salt Lake got the first good chance in the second half when Findley got through the Sounders defense an into the box for a shot in the 47th minute, but Keller dove for the save to keep the game knotted at 0-0.
Seattle turned the tide in the 61st minute when they recovered the ball off of a corner kick and went back on the attack. Nate Jaqua knocked the ball to Steve Zakuani who crossed to Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, but Hurtado’s header missed for a goal kick.
RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was quick to the ball, though, and got off a quick restart, sending a long ball up the field to Findley, who got behind the Seattle defense and beat Keller inside the left post for the 1-0 lead in the 62nd minute.
“Guys fell asleep. The guys who were supposed to be back weren’t back. Guys were in wrong positions, guys weren’t where they were supposed to be,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “They got caught napping and they paid the price.”
Seattle had some last-minute opportunities, but had both of their stoppage-time chances turned away.
“We did a good job of keeping the ball in front of us and keeping the play in front of us,” Schmid said. “There were some chances where we broke in, but our final pass wasn’t good enough.”
With the shutout, Seattle has now gone scoreless over their last three matches and 314 minutes in league play.
“I’m not looking forward to Monday and Tuesday because I’ve got a feeling they’re going to be pretty hard, but that’s life – you lose a couple games that you shouldn’t and then you expect a punishment at training the next day.”
The loss drops the Sounders to fourth in the MLS Western Conference standings at 7-5-8 (29 points). Real Salt Lake improved to 7-8-5 (26 points), just three points behind Seattle and in sixth place in the West. Seattle trails the Houston Dynamo (35 points), LA Galaxy (31 points) and Colorado Rapids (30 points).
The Sounders will travel to the Home Depot Center to face the Galaxy Saturday in an 8 pm kickoff. They will play that game without defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, though, whose 76th minute yellow card was his eighth of the season, giving him a one-game suspension.