Sounders FC

Sounders left second-guessing after defeat

Real Salt Lake left CenturyLink Field with a 2-1 win Saturday, and afterward Sounders FC players and coaches hardly knew which frustrating moment did them in.

Kasey Keller’s own goal? Mauro Rosales’ missed penalty kick? The questionable red card shown to defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado? A failed clearance by Tyson Wahl before Alvaro Saborio’s game-winner? Or a near equalizer by Wahl that was saved but not seen by RLS goalkeeper Nick Rimando?

“Sometimes games go like this,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. “I thought in the first half we had more of the game, we had more of the chances. I thought we gave up (two soft goals). ... There were some good moments where we got in, where we created some chances, where we got behind them on the flanks, which is exactly what we talked about. But at the end of the day (we) didn’t convert.”

Regardless of how it happened, the Sounders first home loss since May 25 could prove as costly as it was frustrating.

Seattle dropped to 13-6-9 in the league standings and is suddenly within striking distance of RSL (13-7-6), which is three points behind with two games in hand.

“Second (place in the Western Conference) is important in terms of home-field advantage and in terms of who you draw, who you play,” Schmid said. “So the higher you finish, the better it is.”

Salt Lake opened the scoring in the 13th minute, when Keller mishandled a ball rolling across the goalmouth.

“The ball checked up a little bit on the turf, and I kind of overran it,” Keller said. “And then I just tried to hook it back and get it out of bounds, and I unfortunately got it a little too close to the wrong side of the post. I’ve got to do better on that, and that’s it.”

Seattle had a chance to equalize on a penalty kick in the 15th minute, but when Rimando went one way Rosales overcompensated wide left.

“I tried to play where the keeper was, and when he changed (direction), I changed a little bit father than I have to do,” Rosales said. “It was a pity that I couldn’t score the goal at that time.”

The game changed twice over a four-minute stretch of the first half. First, Seattle took a one-man advantage in the 35th minute, when RSL’s Tony Beltran was sent off after receiving his second yellow card. But then it became a 10-on-10 game in the 39th minute, when Hurtado received a red card for what referee Mark Kadlecik ruled a serious foul against Saborio.

Afterward, RSL coach Jason Kreis said he thought the red card was harsh, while Schmid said he didn’t have a good enough angle. But Schmid volunteered his hope that the league will crack down on embellishment – if that was what happened.

Seattle pulled even just seconds before halftime on a team-high seventh goal by Fredy Montero with a team-high 10th assist from Rosales.

However, Saborio got the game-winner in the 56th minute, cashing in on a second chance after a failed clearance by Wahl.

“I blocked the first one well, and I think it popped back to him,” Wahl said. “And the second one ... he just finished really well.”

Wahl almost got the goal back in the 69th minute, but his shot caught Rimando flush in the face and bounced away.

“Those are the one’s you don’t expect or train for,” Rimando said. “When they happen, you don’t want them to go in the back in the net. I saw the guys playing, so I guess I saved it with my face.”

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

WEDNESDAY

CONCACAF Champions League: Sounders FC at Heredia, Costa Rica, 7 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel, 97.3-FM

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