WASHINGTON – Sounders FC defender Marc Burch was inches from having a dream come true Saturday – a couple of dreams, really.
With a single header in the closing seconds, Burch could have given Seattle a road victory and himself a solid dose of payback against D.C. United, the club that turned him loose after last season.
Instead, Burch’s stoppage time shot went just high and off the crossbar. As a result, he and the Sounders settled for a scoreless draw at RFK Stadium.
“We had a chance,” defender Osvaldo Alonso said. “Burch headed it to the post, but it didn’t go in. So, now we focus on the next day. Taking one point is not bad.”
Burch had started a controversy during the week by expressing his displeasure with the way he was discarded by D.C. United, for which he had played from 2007-2011.
However, he started on the bench for the first time this Major League Soccer season. And he was booed by the crowd of 15,651 when he took the pitch in the third and last minute of stoppage time.
The final sequence began with an Alonso shot from about 24 yards out, which was knocked down by United goalkeeper Joe Willis. The rebound went directly to Burch, who was streaking to the far post. He nodded his head into the ball against tight defensive pressure from behind, but it clanged off the upper left corner.
“It would have been great for him to kind of show them what kind of contribution he could make,” forward Eddie Johnson told KONG 6/16 afterward. “But he was unlucky. You give him that chance 10 times, he’ll make it nine times out of 10. It was unlucky, but it was a great performance by the team.”
Johnson made his Sounders debut, playing 24 minutes and taking one shot.
“It felt good to be out there to help the team,” he said. “It’s difficult to come to D.C. … But this team has done a good job after a (1-0 home loss to San Jose) last weekend.”
Seattle outshot United, 11-8, although D.C. (1-2-2) put four on goal to Seattle’s two. The home side also won more duels, 57 percent to 42; had better passing accuracy, 71 percent to 63 percent; and had more possession time, 52.1-47.9 percent.
“I think (Seattle) came here with the thought of getting numbers behind the ball and having a real blue-collar day,” United coach Ben Olsen said. “… It was one of those games where if we’re a little sharper in the final third, I think we come out of here with three (points). They’re a good team. They’re a real team – to keep them to zero goals is definitely a credit to the back four. I thought they came in and did a good job.”
The result ended the Sounders’ five-game road winning streak in league games, dating to last season. It also was Seattle’s second consecutive match without a goal after totaling five over their first two games.
“I thought the battle that we showed was very good,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “Basically, we talked about that. I thought last week San Jose out-competed us a little bit, so I wanted to make sure that we came out and competed, and I thought we did that from the opening whistle to the end.”
Seattle (2-1-1) will return to MLS action Saturday when the Colorado Rapids visit CenturyLink Field.
More quotes and a video of Burch’s near-miss are available at blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer.