frisco, texas – Sounders FC climbed to the second-best record in Major League Soccer on Saturday with a 1-0 win over FC Dallas.
The lone goal came in the 16th minute, when Fredy Montero claimed a lose ball near midfield, touched it forward once, then slipped a pass to Mauro Rosales who knocked a shot past Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
The Sounders protected that lead the rest of the way before a crowd of 11,635 at Pizza Hut Park.
“I thought it was game where Dallas had more control of the game than we did,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “But it was the same thing when we (lost) in Seattle: We had more than they did. That was a game we were unfortunate to lose, while tonight was a game we were fortunate to win. I thought we did well, we scored the opening goal, and we had some good chances early on and also later in the game.”
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Seattle got another boost in the 56th minute, when Dallas’ Daniel Cruz received his second yellow card of the game, this one for diving. That gave the Sounders a one-man advantage the rest of the way – no small thing considering the temperature was 104 degrees at kickoff.
“For us, we haven’t been used to the heat at all,” Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “Today in Seattle was the first day over 80 degrees. Coming in here, having it be in the 100’s it is a little bit much. It was a tough game. We didn’t play as well as we should have. We scored a goal early and hung on for dear life. In the end, if you’re going to win games in the playoffs you need to win games like this. It was a good show for us today, but we could have played better.”
Dallas fired 24 shots to Seattle’s nine, and put four on goal to Seattle’s two.
The Hoops’ last chances came in the final minute of stoppage time, when Keller knocked away a cross and then got off the turf in time to make a diving save of Bruno Guarda’s rebound.
“(Keller) came up huge,” Schmid said. “He made a huge save at the end of the day for us. He also dealt a lot with the crosses and made sure we stayed marked up.”
The result extended one Sounders streak, as they moved to 7-0-2 in games they finish with a man advantage. It also ended one, as they got their first win in six tries in the state of Texas, moving to 1-3-2.
More important, Seattle climbed to 12-5-9 and 45 points on the season, sliding past Dallas (12-7-7, 43). Seattle also got good news from some other Western Conference results, as fourth-place Colorado settled for a home draw with Chivas USA and fifth-place Real Salt Lake lost at Houston.
However, league leading Los Angeles climbed to 14-3-9 and 51 points with a 2-0 win over San Jose.
“It’s nice that we can jump ahead of Dallas, but we know there is a lot left to play in the season,” Keller said. “It’s more of a confidence thing, where you know you can go in and win on the road against a team that is in good form. We know we can play better, but at the end of the day we know both teams are most likely going to be in the playoffs and that is when it really counts.”
Now, the Sounders fly directly to Mexico, where they will meet Monterrey in a CONCACAF Champions League group-stage match on Tuesday.
Seattle returns to MLS play Saturday, when Columbus visits CenturyLink Field.
For more on the Sounders. go to: blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer