SEATTLE - Every time the Sounders FC appeared to have the match against Real Salt Lake in their grasp, it would slip through their fingers.
In the end, Seattle fell 2-1 to Real Salt Lake to suffer their first loss since July 30 in Houston.
“Sometimes games go like this,” an exasperated Sigi Schmid said after the match.
The Sounders outshot Salt Lake 19-10, but couldn’t convert an equalizer and dropped to 13-6-9 (48 points), missing on an opportunity to distance themselves from the oncoming RSL, who improved to 13-7-6 (45 points).
The bizarre series of events started in the 13th minute.
Fabian Espindola crossed a ball into the box from the left side and Kasey Keller appeared to have it under control. However, he overran the ball and attempted to scoop the ball away from the charging Alvaro Saborio, but instead knocked it into the net for an own goal.
“Well, it happens. It happens to all teams. We give up goals we don’t normally give up. We miss chances we don’t normally miss,” Keller said. “That kind of stuff happens. You have those days.”
Momentum appeared to swing back in favor of Seattle on three more occasions before the half ended. In the 16th minute, Mike Fucito was taken out in the box by Robbie Russell to give the Sounders a penalty, however, they weren’t able to capitalize, as Mauro Rosales missed wide left and Salt Lake held the 1-0 lead.
It was Seattle’s third costly penalty miss this season after misses against the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA resulted in draws.
“I think right now, it’s maybe in people’s heads because we have missed some,” Schmid said. “Mauro made his last one without any problems and we were confident he would make this one.”
In the 35th minute, Tony Beltran was shown his second yellow card for a harsh tackle on Rosales, but Seattle couldn’t hold the man-advantage. Just four minutes later, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was shown a straight red card when he was judged to have caught Saborio in the face with an elbow.
However, Seattle still put the pressure to the visitors and Fredy Montero played a one-two with Rosales, hammering home a cross from Rosales for his seventh goal of the season just before halftime.
Seattle went into the break with confidence, but another odd turn in the cosmos knocked them back behind in the 56th minute. Saborio got the ball in the box on the right side and his shot was defended well by Tyson Wahl. The Seattle defender attempted to clear the ball, but stumbled and Saborio capitalized, flipping the ball inside the far post for his eighth goal of the year and a 2-1 lead for Real.
Wahl looked for redemption in the 69th minute when he whipped a ball at the net from close range. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando had no chance to react and the ball took an unfortunate carom off his forward and away.
As the minutes wound down, second-half substitute Lamar Neagle rolled a shot to the far post and missed narrowly and Seattle couldn’t find the equalizer.
“There were some good moments where we got in and created some chances; where we got behind them on the flanks, which is exactly what we talked about. But at the end of the day we didn’t convert,” Schmid said.
The Sounders will look to get back on the winning side on Wednesday when they face Herediano of Costa Rica in the third game of the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. They will travel on Monday and return to Seattle on Thursday ahead of their next MLS match against DC United next Saturday at CenturyLink Field.
Sounders FC - Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales) 47+.
Real Salt Lake - Own goal (Kasey Keller) 12; Alvaro Saborio 56.
Sounders FC - Servando Carrasco (caution) 38; Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (ejection) 39; Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 94+.
Real Salt Lake - Tony Beltran (caution) 19; Tony Beltran (caution, ejection) 35; Andy Williams (caution) 68.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 31), Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 65), Mike Fucito (Pat Noonan 73), Fredy Montero.
Real Salt Lake - Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson, Andy Williams, Luis Gil (Chris Schuler 46), Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saberio (Ned Grabavoy 68).