FRISCO, Texas - The Sounders FC had reason to celebrate on Saturday night after they earned their first victory in the state of Texas and jumped over FC Dallas into second place in Major League Soccer with a 1-0 win over Dallas at Pizza Hut Park.
Mauro Rosales scored his fourth goal of the season and Kasey Keller held off a vicious Dallas attack that saw the home side take 24 shots on the night to earn his eight clean sheet of the season.
The victory may have been sweet, but the means to get the three points weren’t quite as delightful. After receiving his second yellow card caution in the 56th minute, FC Dallas midfielder Daniel Cruz was sent off, but that didn’t thwart the Dallas offense. Even down a man, they managed to out-shoot Seattle 12-5 over the final 34 minutes and 24-9 for the match.
“I thought it was game where Dallas had more control of the game than we did but it was the same thing when we played in Seattle, we had more than they did,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said, referring to a 1-0 defeat at CenturyLink Field earlier this season. “That was a game we were unfortunate to lose while tonight was a game we were fortunate to win. I thought we did well, we scored the opening goal, and we had some good chances early on and also later in the game.”
Seattle looked to score early to neutralize the home-field advantage that 104-degree temperatures at kickoff brought for Dallas and they did just that when they got on the board in the 15th minute.
Lamar Neagle gained possession up the left side and fed the ball to Fredy Montero in the middle. Rosales came charging up the right side and Montero slipped him the ball at the top of the box and Rosales hammered it inside the post, catching Kevin Hartman leaning the wrong way to find the back of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute.
The assist was the sixth on the season for Montero.
“It was a good play. Lamar got the ball on the left and looked inside for Fredy and found him with the ball,” Schmid said. “Fredy then drew in the defenders and found Mauro and he finished it home past Kevin.
With the 1-0 lead in pocket, the Sounders looked to keep Dallas from gaining the equalizer.
In the 31st minute, defender Ugo Ihemelu had their best opportunity of the first half when he got his head to a long free kick, but Keller was able to parry it over the bar for his only save of the half.
The second half saw a hard-working Sounders defense put everything they could muster into stopping top-scorer Brek Shea who finished the night with five shots, but none came easy.
The lead held until the final minutes when Schmid had a brief flashback to April 22, 2010, when Seattle held a 2-1 lead into stoppage time when a questionable penalty call allowed Dallas to net the equalizer in a 2-2 draw.
This time, though, Keller would stand tall, diving to his left to stop a Bruno Guarda shot five minutes into stoppage time to secure the shutout victory.
“He came up huge,” Schmid said. “He made a huge save at the end of the day for us. He also dealt a lot with the crosses and made sure we stayed marked up.”
The win lifts the Sounders to 12-5-9 (45 points) on the season and moves them into second place, ahead of 12-7-7 FC Dallas.
“It’s nice that we can jump ahead of Dallas but we know there is a lot left to play in the season. It’s more of a confidence thing where you know you can go in and win on the road against a team that is in good form,” Keller said. “We know we can play better, but at the end of the day we know both teams are most likely going to be in the playoffs and that is when it really counts.”
Seattle’s next match will be on Tuesday in the CONCACAF Champions League as they face Monterrey in Mexico. Their next league match is Saturday at CenturyLink Field against the Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew.
Sounders FC - Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero) 15.
FC Dallas - None.
Sounders FC - Erik Friberg (caution) 6; Fredy Montero (caution) 60; Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution) 62; Zach Scott (caution) 94+.
FC Dallas - Daniel Cruz (caution) 3; Ugo Ihemelu (caution) 27; Daniel Cruz (caution, ejection) 56.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Brad Evans 63), Lamar Neagle, Mike Fucito (Pat Noonan 78), Fredy Montero (Alvaro Fernandez 68).
FC Dallas - Kevin Hartman, Jackson Goncalves (Fabian Castillo 73), Zach Loyd (Jeremy Hall 24), Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez, Marvin Chavez, Daniel Cruz, Daniel Hernandez (Bruno Guarda 81), Brek Shea, Ricardo Villar, Maicon Santos.