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RSL Cements Second Place in Seattle

Posted on 18 October 2012 by Kyle Alm

Real Salt Lake came to Seattle three points ahead of Sounders in the Western Conference standings. Sounders, with a game in hand, were looking to usurp their rivals with a win and draw even in the standings.

© Jane Gershovich & American Soccer News

A day removed from a return stint with the US Men’s National Team, Eddie Johnson found himself on a private charter with Nick Rimando & Kyle Beckerman on the way to Seattle. Eddie Johnson played 90 minutes in both World Cup Qualifying matches and was quite productive offensively, scoring 2 goals against Antigua Barbados & getting an assist against Guatemala. Rimando and Beckerman did not see time on the pitch for the US and although it was unlikely that Johnson would play, it was a much appreciated gesture between these two rival sides.

Zach Scott would pick up a seemingly inocuous yellow card in the 10th minute for a foul on Fabian Espindola. Scott, filling in at center back for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, has a bit of a reputation as a rough defender, getting a caution is not out of the ordinary for him. Scott would only remain on the pitch for another 20 minutes. Javier Morales was fouled by the Sounder stalwart and promptly sent off by Ricardo Salazar for his second caution.

Sounders had started a duo of Fredy Montero & Sammy Ochoa at forward, Eddie Johnson was not available after his stint with the US Men’s National Team. Ochoa was the player who made way for an additional defender after Scott had been sent off. Sounders already had a makeshift lineup to start the match; Zach Scott was an outside back playing in, Brad Evans was filling in for Scott on the outside, Marc Burch & Jeff Parke were the only defenders in their usual positions. Andy Rose dropped into the center back role until the substition for Ochoa was made. Michael Seamon would finish the match at outside back.

At the end of the first half Montero hit a shot that looked like it hit the outstretched arm of Tony Beltran. Replays would later show that Beltran had his arm next to the body and that Salazar had gotten the call correct. RSL head coach Jason Kreis had this to say about appeals for a penalty, “what lead to that play was Montero pushing on Olave, I don’t think Seattle is the only one that can make complaints about the calls tonight.”

It is certainly a truism that a team with 10 men is likely to lose to an 11 man team and on an extended timeline keeping possession and creating scoring chances will lead to goals in a probabilistic view. In reality it is still not easy to break a team down defensively. On paper you can see that RSL did dominate possession and scoring chances and had chances late to take all three points in Seattle were it not for the herculean efforts of Michael Gspurning. Two of those saves coming in impressive fashion in stoppage time.

For RSL getting a point on the road in Seattle is no smalll feat, especially considering the place in the table. However in the end they recognize that it was a match they had the upper hand throughout and still failed to win.

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