SEATTLE – For stretches of the Sounders FC’s meeting with the New England Revolution Thursday night at Qwest Field, the home club controlled the run of play.
They got the ball into good spots on the field. They found space against one of the better defensive teams in the league. They even got the ball into the box on several occasions, including one for a penalty kick.
But they were unable to hit the back of the net – nor even put a ball within the frame – and Shalrie Joseph trickled a ball into the net on a goofy bounce and the Revolution left Seattle 1-0 victors over the Sounders FC.
“It looks like we could have played three or four games tonight and not scored,” said goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who finished with one save in the loss.
Head coach Sigi Schmid was equally as terse after Seattle’s second home loss of the year.
“This was obviously a disappointing game. When you play at home you want to win,” he said. “I thought we carried the game, but at the end of the day you have to score goals. If you don’t score you don’t win. You need to score goals.”
Seattle had the first true scoring chance in the 11th minute when Brad Evans sent one of his many crosses from the right side. The first was headed high by Nate Jaqua, who also dropped a left-footed volley just wide of the open net in the 27th minute. The later attempt would have tied the game after Joseph’s 21st minute goal.
Joseph got behind the Seattle defense and into a one-on-one with Keller. Joseph lost footing and Keller went down to make the stop, but Joseph was able to get just enough of the ball to poke it past Keller for his sixth goal of the year.
Seattle got a few more scoring chances and it looked like they would capitalize in the 39th minute when Steve Zakuani got control of a corner kick and blasted it from 18 yards out, only to have it redirected off of Montero’s head and back out of the box. Montero was whistled offside on the play.
Minutes later, Montero earned a penalty when he was fouled in the box by Steve Ralston, who drew a yellow card on the play.
Montero took the penalty kick, but it caromed off the crossbar and out, leaving the Sounders down 1-0 at the half.
“He wasn’t supposed to hit the PK,” Schmid said of Montero. “There as a player designated and he needs to stand up and take responsibility. The designated person deferred and let him hit it.”
Montero, who later drew a yellow card of his own and will miss Seattle’s road match with the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, was confident he would score on the penalty despite taking a shot to the chest moments earlier.
“I am the top scorer on the team and my teammates offered for me to kick it,” said Montero, who is second in the MLS with ten goals. “I felt confident that I was going to score, but unfortunately it went to the post.”
Just before the half, Revolution assistant coach Paul Mariner – who was acting as head coach in place of the suspended Steve Nicol – was ejected.
Seattle didn’t have the number of opportunities, but the chances were greater in magnitude in the second half.
Evans blasted a ball from 22 yards out that Matt Reis tipped away from the corner of the net for a corner kick in the 57th minute. Then in stoppage time, late-game substitute Sanna Nyassi put a shot into the side netting from the right side.
In the end, though, Joseph’s lone marker was the difference. Officially, Seattle finished without a shot on goal.
“As a coach, I’m disappointed when we don’t create chances,” Schmid said. “Now, it’s the quality of guys in the box, too. Those guys have to come through and score. Forwards need to finish when they come across. Better running and more intelligence, but more (toughness) with the ball in the box.”
Added Montero, “The other team just created the one that scored. We arrived so many more times, but in the end, the one who wins is the one who scores.”
Seattle faces a hot Dynamo team that leads the Western Conference at 11-6-6 (39 points). Seattle is now third in the West at 8-6-8 (32 points), just behind the LA Galaxy (8-4-10, 34 points).
“It’s time to truly see if we are a playoff contender for this league. Now is the time to start getting your form to get into playoffs and have a good run,” Keller said. “Nothing would be worse for me than to have as good a season as we’ve had and then fizzle out at the end. It’s truly important that we really step it up in the next couple of weeks and show that we’re legit.”
Kickoff is set for 5:30 from Houston’s Robertson Stadium.