The Seattle Sounders FC (11-13-2, 35 points) two game winning streak was abrubtly snapped Saturday night with a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake (8-10-8, 32 points) at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy,Utah.
Sounders FC went into Saturday Night’s game against the perennial Western Conference rival full of optimism and swagger. Why not, after suffering through their longest winless streak in team history ( five MLS games) the Sounders won two games consecutive games and signs pointed to a team that had turned the corner with some newly signed players and a renewed shot of confidence.
The only issue with the feel good story is that Real Salt Lake was in the process of making it’s own fairy tale with a happy ending . Real Salt Lake was on the back end of a three game MLS losing streak and looked at the match against the Sounders as a must win situation to keep it’s playoff hopes alive.
The match up between the long times foes, resembled a prize fight between two heavyweights needing a win. In short, Real Salt Lake gave Seattle an early punch to the mouth when it was awarded a penalty kick for a Roman Torres hand ball in the box. Javier Morales made good on the penalty to give the home side a 1-0 lead after just 12minutes of play.
The early goal stunned the Sounders and Real Salt Lake took advantage of it’s punch drunk opponent by implementing a high press that harassed the Seattle players every time they got the ball. The pressure took it’s toll as the Rave Green struggled to complete consecutive passes between the midfielders and the front line.
RSL delivered the knock out blow in the 19th minute when midfielder Luke Mulholland banged a shot from just outside Seattle’s 18-yard-box off the woodwork, leaving the rebound for forward Sebastian Jaime. The Argentine headed home the loose ball, doubling Real Salt Lake advantage to make the score 2-0. Seattle never recovered from the early blows and just managed one shot on goal for the game which was an Obafami Martins shot in the 35th minute.
“They outworked us tonight in the first 20minutes,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said after the game.”We told our team to be prepared for that, that they would come out hard and that’s where we lost the game.”
With the loss Seattle is tied for sixth in the Western Conference with the San Jose Earthquakes (with Seattle holding the tie-breaker for the final MLS Cup Playoffs position). The loss to Real Salt Lake was the 13th loss of the season and set a new franchise record for most losses in a season.
Click here to hear Sig Schmid’s post game audio