SANDY, Utah – The Sounders FC had two lengthy streaks come to an end on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in their 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake.
Real Salt Lake’s eighth-minute goal ended Seattle’s shutout streak against their Western Conference rivals at 408 minutes. The loss brings to an end their run of a league-record 75 straight MLS matches without losing two consecutive matches, dating back to March 19, 2011 – a span of 742 days.
Brad Evans scored his first goal of the season in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the first-half struggles and Seattle dropped to 0-3-1 on the season.
“Just not pleased. I’m not pleased with myself. I’ve got to start with myself because we didn’t play well at the beginning of the game,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s a disease right now that’s infecting all of us. We’ve got to take a major antibiotic and get rid of this disease.”
Salt Lake controlled the early minutes of the match, forcing Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning into three saves over the first eight minutes.
In the seventh minute, Devon Sandoval got into the box on a ball from Abdoulie Mansally, but his touch betrayed him and gave Gspurning enough time to recover and make the stop. RSL had a second chance, but that too was saved and the ball was cleared for a throw-in in the corner.
Off that throw-in, the ball bounced over the head of Sandoval and an attempted clearance by Brad Evans deflected back to Findley at the right post. His initial effort was stopped, but he stuck with the rebound and put it inside the post for the goal and a 1-0 lead.
Findley had to be taken out in the 12th minute with a left adductor strain and was replaced in the 14th minute by Joao Plata, but that didn’t do much to slow down Salt Lake’s offense.
Gspurning’s goal saw a barrage of shots in the 34th minute, as Sandoval had another chance saved by Gspurning, but when he was pulled up high to make the stop, it was Marc Burch who made a goal-line clearance to stop a second effort, clearing it for a corner.
On the ensuing corner kick, Sebastian Velasquez played it short to Ned Grabavoy, who flipped it back to Luis Gil for a diving header, putting it inside the far post for his first goal of the season to put Seattle behind 2-0 in the 35th minute.
Gspurning finished the half with six saves – surpassing his previous career high for an entire regular season match.
“We’re running out of words at the moment. The first half was embarrassing,” Gspurning said. “There’s just one way to go and that’s to go forward.”
In the 57th minute Evans got Seattle on the board with his first goal of the season.
DeAndre Yedlin crossed a ball in from the right side and Mauro Rosales touched it off to Evans, who cut a left-footed shot from the top of the box that took a deflection and bounced inside the post for the goal to reduce the RSL lead to 2-1.
Seattle couldn’t find the equalizer, though, and dropped their second straight match after a 1-0 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes last week.
“I thought the second half was better. I thought we competed better. We scored a goal. We had some chances. But then we ran out of steam and we ran out of ideas,” Schmid said. “It’s a combination of things right now, but it’s a very disappointing evening. There’s got to be a lot of soul-searching in that locker room and with us as a staff as well.”
The Sounders will turn their attention now to Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal match with Santos Laguna at CenturyLink Field.
Sounders FC – Brad Evans 57 (Mauro Rosales, DeAndre Yedlin).
Real Salt Lake – Robbie Findley 8; Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy, Sebastian Velasquez) 35.
Sounders FC – Andy Rose (caution) 87.
Real Salt Lake – None.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Andy Rose 25), Steve Zakuani, Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 78), Obafemi Martins (David Estrada 62).
Real Salt Lake – Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler, Abdoulie Mansally (Lovel Palmer 81), Sebastian Velasquez, Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (Javier Morales 62), Ned Grabavoy, Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 14), Devon Sandoval.