A pair of South Sound goalkeepers who united as MLS All-Star teammates Wednesday become rivals again today as Sounders FC visits Houston.
Kasey Keller of Olympia is expected to be back in goal for the Sounders, while Tally Hall of Gig Harbor will don the gloves for the Dynamo.
The pair combined to handle second-half goalkeeping duties in Manchester United’s 4-0 win over the MLS All-Stars this week at Red Bulls Arena in New Jersey.
“I saw Kasey back at the hotel after the game and I told him, ‘I just want you to know that I feel like I’m done giving up goals this week. Two goals in 30 minutes, I’ve reached my quota for the weekend,’” Hall said. “So he goes, ‘Oh you think so, huh?’
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“We’ve already moved on. It was fun at the All-Star game, but everyone knows that the focus is on the league and making a good run in the final half of the season.”
Keller held the Red Devils scoreless over a seven-minute cameo, marking what he has announced will be his final professional season.
“It was great for Kasey to get onto the field,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “That’s one of the reasons we worked with the league to get Kasey there. I thought that with him in his last year, it was something that was great for him to take part in.”
Hall allowed two goals over 38 minutes in an All-Star debut that he otherwise enjoyed a great deal.
“It’s unfortunate that we got thumped a bit; but it was a fun game to be a part of, I thought, a fun game to watch,” Hall said. “It’s something else when after training for 30 minutes you’re taking shots from (David) Beckham and (Thierry) Henry. These are guys that I’ve been watching for quite a long time in the sport growing up. And now to be on the same field in training and just kind of goofing around with them, it was quite an experience.”
Hall was born 26 years ago in SeaTac. He captained his Gig Harbor High School team as a senior, won a state championship with FC United, played two years in the Washington Olympic Development Program and was rated among the top seven high school goalkeepers in the West before going on to San Diego State.
He was drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 but signed instead with Danish club Esbjerg. He played there two seasons before going to Houston, where he watched Pat Onstad from the bench in 2009, made five league appearances in 2010 and took over the starting job this season.
He has started all 21 games, with four shutouts and a 1.24 goals-against average.
“I feel like there are some games that I have good games where I help the team with the fight and the results on the field,” he said. “But to say that I feel like I’ve had an All-Star season, I can’t say that I feel like I completely belong there. But at the same time, the coach, Hans Backe, thought so, and I’m grateful for the nod that he gave me.”
Hall was surrounded by familiar faces as Houston teammates Brad Davis, Geoff Cameron and Corey Ashe also were named to the team. That gave the Dynamo a league-high four All-Stars. However, all that star-power is not reflected in the league standings, where Houston heads into this Sounders match with a 5-7-9 record and minus-two goal differential.
“We know that we have to focus more over this last stretch of the season,” Hall said. “We’re at the cusp of being a team that can be dangerous. And at the same time we know that if we slip up it could be detrimental to our season. Every game’s important. Every game we’ve got to fight because it’s toward the end, and we don’t have the safety of games on the table.”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com
SOUNDERS FC (10-4-8, 38 PTS.) AT HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-7-9, 24 PTS.)
5:30 p.m., Robertson Stadium, Houston.
TV: KONG 6/16. RADIO: 97.3-FM.
HEAD TO HEAD: Seattle leads, 2-1-2. The clubs played to a 1-1 draw March 25 in Seattle.
TEAM LEADERS: For Seattle – G 6, Fredy Montero; A 6, Mauro Rosales; S 62, Montero; SOG 26, Montero; GAA 1.05, Kasey Keller. For Houston – G 4, Will Bruin and Cam Weaver; A 9, Brad Davis; S 49, Bruin; SOG 21, Bruin; GAA 1.24, Tally Hall.
NOTES: Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, the MLS career victories leader, is going for his 150th league win. The Dynamo is 5-3-3 at home, Seattle 4-2-5 on the road. Overall, Houston is 1-2-3 over its past six games. Seattle is 6-0-3 over its past nine league games. However, the Sounders have lost their past two competitions: 7-0 in a friendly to Manchester United, and 1-0 in a Champions League match at San Francisco FC of Panama. Houston had a league-high four representatives at the MLS All-Star Game: Davis, Geoff Cameron, Corey Ashe and Hall, a goalkeeper from Gig Harbor. Weaver was born in Tacoma. Cameron has scored in all three of his regular season starts against Seattle. The Sounders’ reserve goalkeeper will be rookie Josh Ford, who has no professional experience. Usual No. 2 Terry Boss didn’t travel because of concussive symptoms. Houston’s Je-Vaughn Watson is out because of disciplinary suspension. Seattle’s Servando Carrasco and Montero are each one caution away from a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation. The referee is Niko Bratsis.
QUOTABLE: “They are a team that is very good on set pieces. Brad Davis leads the league in assists, and he serves probably the best ball in the league and he is somebody that is very, very dangerous. And then they got big bodies so we’ve got to make sure we limit the amount of free kicks we give away. We’ve got to make sure we mark up well when we do.” – Schmid.
NEXT: The Sounders will resolve their two-game aggregate-score CONCACAF Champions League preliminary match with San Francisco FC of Panama at 7 p.m. Wednesday at CenturyLink Field. Seattle returns to MLS play at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at Kansas City.
Don Ruiz, staff writer