Sounders FC beat D.C. United, 3-0, on Saturday at CenturyLink Field, and along the way established an MLS attendance record while Mauro Rosales set a club assists record.
However, the Sounders’ postgame mood was muted by a sprained right medial collateral ligament (MCL) Rosales suffered in the closing minutes.
He will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test today, but after the game admitted he was worried. Coach Sigi Schmid, meanwhile, was angry.
“I don’t think the league has done a good job protecting him,” Schmid said. “Today was a case in point. We’re up on top of the game 3-0, and he’s got the ball at his feet, and I think it’s a tackle that’s just meant to get a little kick in, and who knows how long he’s out now.”
Schmid said Rosales won’t play Tuesday in the CONCACAF Champions League home match against Herediano. After that, Seattle returns to MLS play Saturday at Vancouver.
“It looks like my ligaments stretched a little bit, the inside,” Rosales said. “... I’m really worried about what’s going to happen.”
The injury occurred in the 89th minute when United defender Daniel Woolard fouled Rosales near the sideline in the middle third of the pitch. Rosales limped off the pitch, and the Sounders played through stoppage time with 10 men. After the whistle, Rosales walked to the locker room with an ice pack on his right knee.
“He’s a good player, a player who fans want to come out and watch him play, and then we let people – thugs – hit him and we don’t protect him enough, and I think that’s something that’s got to happen with the referees,” Schmid said. “... I’d like to see the referee – Kevin Stott – stand there and let (D.C. defender) Brandon McDonald run into his back and see if he could stay on his feet. I’m very disappointed in that.”
In most other respects, it was a good night for the Sounders, who moved to 14-6-9, while D.C. fell to 8-8-10 and suffered a jolt to its playoff hopes.
Seattle went ahead in the 35th minute on a Mike Fucito goal, then put the game away with two more from Alvaro Fernandez – who moved into the team lead with eight goals.
“Scoring two goals helps the team to get a win,” Fernandez said through a translator. “And on a personal note, it also gives me confidence for the future.”
The first and second goals were assisted by Rosales, giving him 12 for the season and breaking the club record of 10 set by Fredy Montero last season. Kasey Keller made six saves – including a few dazzlers in the final 15 minutes – for his ninth shutout of the season.
“They’re a good attacking team,” Keller said. “... After the first goal I felt like they got into the game pretty well, but we kind of kept them at bay a bit. And then hitting that goal right before halftime (from Fernandez) made a big difference. But they never quit. They kept coming and coming and coming and coming.”
The crowd of 36,242 at CenturyLink pushed the Sounders’ season attendance to 553,987, breaking their MLS record of 542,600 from last season.
“Our fans are always there for us,” Schmid said. “I’m just happy that we can go out there and put on a performance like we put on today and, I think, reward them for their support and give them something to leave and be happy about and be able to hoist a beer to. ... But as I said the other day, the front office and everybody that puts all the effort into doing the whole ticket sales, getting people here, the marketing effort – I have not been in a better organization in this league. There is no better organization in this league.”