FOXBOROUGH, MASS. – Sounders FC surrendered three goals in an 11-minute span of the second half and fell to the New England Revolution, 3-1, Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
Until the eruption, the Sounders were a goal ahead and seemed to be on their way to extending what had been a franchise-best seven-game unbeaten string. Instead, Seattle lost a Major League Soccer match for the first time since July 4 and fell to 9-9-5 in a tightening MLS playoff race.
“That was probably the worst 10 minutes we’ve played all year,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “There’s really not much to say about it. Hopefully that’s the last of it, and it can’t happen again if we want to continue on.”
Seattle had jumped ahead in the 59th minute when Alvaro Fernandez and James Riley used a nice combination of passes to set up Steve Zakuani, who fired past New England keeper Matt Reis.
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The Sounders were in control until the game got rough. Things came to a head in the 63rd minute when New England’s Shalrie Joseph slapped Sounders defender Patrick Ianni in the neck. Both players went down, with Joseph holding his leg as if Ianni had stepped on him.
Referee Silviu Petrescu ordered Ianni off the pitch for treatment, but he showed no cards.
However, the incident and its resulting delay seemed to take the Sounders out of their rhythm, and New England’s rally quickly followed.
“I think that was probably the turning point, with Shalrie and Patrick,” Zakuani said. “There was like a five-, six-minute delay and we just scored. And after that, I think we maybe – as our coach told us – lost our composure a little bit.”
The Revs’ rally began in the 70th minute when Kevin Alston took a long throw-in that Joseph headed on to the back post for Chris Tierney, who headed it past Keller.
The Revolution moved ahead three minutes later when Marko Perovic buried a ball that had been misplayed back into the penalty area by Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso.
New England settled the issue in the 81st minute, when a poor clearance by the Seattle defense was intercepted by Kheli Dube, who then worked a wall pass with Ilija Stolica before finishing into the top corner from 8 yards.
“We haven’t made mistakes back there in a while,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We’ve been pretty solid, and I don’t think we defended the throw-in well. … We had just cleared one off the line right before. Nobody took charge of it and figured out that they were going to do the same thing again, so that was bad. The second goal, I really can’t say anything about it in terms of that it was one of those plays – bang, bang and actually our player, Alonso, tipped it through to them. The third goal was a bad clearance by Ianni.”
New England (7-12-3) ended a three-game skid.
Fernandez was credited with his first assist and Riley with his fourth. … Michael Seamon, in his first start since July 15 at D.C. United, took three first-half shots, putting one on goal. … The Revolution took more shots, 16-12, and put more on goal, 9-3. … Mike Fucito, who grew up about 50 miles from Foxborough and played at Harvard, entered the match in the 82nd minute. It marked his first action since suffering an injury on April 17. … Seattle midfielder David Estrada was taken off the disabled list Saturday and was available.