SEATTLE - Call him Kasey the Prophet.
After the Sounders FC allowed a stoppage time goal last week on the road against Real Salt Lake to turn a 2-1 Seattle victory into a 2-2 draw, goalkeeper Kasey Keller predicted that Seattle would find themselves on the positive side of a stoppage time goal changing the result of a game. He didn’t know that it would be the very next game when Mike Fucito scored in the 92nd minute to give the Sounders a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Wizards in front of 35,924 at Qwest Field Saturday afternoon.
“I’m so happy. The guys fought so hard the whole 90 minutes and it would have been a shame to come away with a nil-nil or a 1-1,” Keller said. “I’m just very proud that we were able to hold off and get the good win.”
Fucito’s game-winning smash was his first MLS goal after spending most of his time with the team in 2009 on the injured list, rewarding not only Fucito for the late-game heroics, but also head coach Sigi Schmid, who subbed on Fucito and Brad Evans, who assisted the goal, in the second half.
“That’s the best feeling in the world, scoring a goal,” Fucito said. “I’m glad that it was at such an opportune time.”
The Sounders and Wizards played a tight battle through 90 minutes, though Kansas City held the statistical advantage through most of the match. Neither team had any particularly threatening goal-scoring chances until stoppage time.
After the clock locked in on 90:00, Evans took a throw-in 25 yards out on the right sideline, finding Fucito racing into an open area on the right side of the box. He looked far post, drawing Wizards goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen one step to his right, then blasted it past his left hand and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
“I remember from film that on throw-ins Sigi always wants someone to stretch. I saw Brad had the ball and I ran through trying to stretch them,” Fucito said. “He made a great throw right in my path and I was one-on-one with the goalie. I hit it and I finished it well. … It was unbelievable.”
The excitement was nearly short-lived, though, as the Wizards raced up the other way on the ensuing kickoff and forced Keller into a dramatic save to hold the lead. Chance Myers carried the ball up the right side of the box and took a low-angle shot that Keller parried away for a corner kick.
“We almost fell asleep there for a second,” said Schmid, was trying to sub Patrick Ianni into the game after the goal, but couldn’t get him on the field. “I think Mike was in a state of euphoria still and didn’t get back on the left side on defense. I think he’ll be in that state for the next 72 hours.”
Despite the enthusiasm of the dramatic home victory, Schmid knows the Sounders are far from where they want to be.
“I’m happy with the win. I’ll always take a win. It felt good to win on a late goal,” Schmid said. “We played better than we did in Salt Lake, but still not up to standards we set for ourselves.”
The win moves the Sounders FC to 2-1-1 (7 points) and drops the Wizards to 2-1-0 (6 points). Seattle will now take to the road for two games in four days, facing FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park Thursday night and Toronto FC on Sunday afternoon at BMO Field.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall, Leo Gonzalez, Pat Noonan (Brad Evans 70), Osvaldo Alonso, Peter Vagenas, Steve Zakuani (Mike Fucito 85), Freddie Ljungberg (Patrick Ianni 89), Fredy Montero.
Wizards - Jimmy Nielsen, Michael Harrington, Jimmy Conrad (Matt Besler 32), Pablo Escobar, Roger Espinoza, Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray, Jack Jewsbury, Ryan Smith, Kei Kamara (Chance Myers 89), Josh Wolff (Teal Bunbury 82).
Sounders FC - Mike Fucito (Brad Evans) 92+.
Wizards - None