SEATTLE – A deflected goal from midfielder Harry Shipp would prove to be the difference for the Seattle Sounders as they snapped a four-match winless streak with a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on a sun-drenched Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field
The victory provided a much-needed three points for Seattle, which was coming off a tough road trip that saw the Rave Green drop its last two away matches against the Chicago Fire and Sporting Kansas City.
Brad Evans made his first start of the season slotting in at right back for the Sounders, as the versatile 31-year-old continues to work his way back from a calf injury that had kept him sidelined for much of the 2017 season. Seattle were still without starting center back Roman Torres – with Swedish offseason signee Gustav Svensson deputizing in his place – but still managed to maintain the clean sheet and seal the result.
Seattle had an array of chances in the first half, racking up 14 shots through the opening 45 minutes – tied for the most of any team in MLS in a first half this season. But RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando proved to be up to the task and it looked as though the contest would stay scoreless until halftime.
The Sounders would finally break through in the 42nd minute, however, after Shipp teed up a shot off a feed from Svensson that deflected off a Real Salt Lake defender, past Rimando and into the net, staking Seattle to a 1-0 first-half advantage that they would take into the locker room.
Seattle had a golden opportunity to double that lead in the 54th minute after forward Jordan Morris drew a penalty kick after being brought down in the box by RSL’s Chris Schuler, giving Clint Dempsey a look from the penalty spot against Rimando. But Rimando – who was sensational all afternoon -- denied Dempsey with a diving save to his left, keeping RSL in the 1-0 deficit.
RSL appeared to be energized after Rimando’s save and pushed hard in the game’s closing minutes for the equalizer, but the Sounders managed to hold on through the second half and seal the result.
The win bumped Seattle’s record to 3-5-4 and 13 points on the season. The Sounders will now turn their focus to their first match of the season against the Portland Timbers, who will come to CenturyLink for a high-stakes Cascadia Cup derby on May 27.