Kasey Keller couldn’t contain the excitement – the pride – in his voice on the broadcast of the Sounders FC’s 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
In the 63rd minute when Zach Scott scored the game’s only goal, making a near-post run and heading a corner kick from Alex Caskey inside the far post for his first career MLS goal, Keller was alight.
“My old roommate pops up,” he started in his commentary, the smile on his face evident even in the audio of the broadcast.
Keller was a bit prophetic in the goal, too.
Earlier in the 13th minute, Scott got his head to a Caskey free kick, but headed it wide of the near post, just missing a wide-open side of the net.
In that moment, Keller said, “Zach Scott has the capability of scoring 3-4 goals a season. He’s that good in the air. … I’d love to see him have another 2-3 of those today and I betcha two or three might be in the back of the net.”
Keller, the goalkeeping legend turned commentator, wasn’t alone in his glee for Scott.
“It’s extremely exciting,” said Caskey, who registered his first assist on the play. “I found out later it was Zach’s first goal and that made it feel even better.”
Head coach Sigi Schmid echoed those sentiments.
“It’s great. His first MLS goal and one of the original Sounders guys,” he said. “Sometimes people say this or that, but the thing is he gives everything he has every time he steps on the field and his energy level is great. He competes for everything and he makes the guys around him compete.”
His tale is one of hard work and perseverance. After finishing his college career at Gonzaga University, he earned a spot with the Sounders – then of the A-League – after an open tryout in 2002. He went on to play 139 games over seven seasons, playing mostly as a left back, but also seeing time as a center back.
In 2009, he was one of the last players signed by the Sounders FC, but started the first five games of the season at left back, but went on to start just once more that season. In 2010, he started four matches, then saw more time in 2011 as he improved his ball skills and 1v1 defending. Last season he started nine matches and had a career high 864 minutes, most of which was at right back where he developed a reputation for shutting down some of the top midfielders in the league.
This off-season, the Sounders signed Swedish National Team defender Adam Johansson, but a hamstring strain suffered in the season opener thrust Scott into the starting lineup for the last four matches. In those four games, Seattle is 2-1-1 with three shutouts and just one goal allowed on a penalty.
In his A-League/USL days, he tallied eight goals in 139 matches, his last coming May 14, 2008, in a 1-1 draw with the Rochester Rhinos. However, he has been thinking about keeping the ball out of the net since then, not about scoring goals.
“Good golly, no,” Scott said. “We’re thinking about shutouts and we’re thinking about keeping teams from scoring. That’s it.”
However, his new roommate Michael Gspurning says it won’t be long before he adds to that goal tally.
“Every header, he’s going in like there’s no tomorrow,” Gspurning said. “If you have that attitude, it’s just a matter of time before you get success with it. I’m very happy that he scored today.”