The Seattle Sounders were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw against Sporting Kansas City Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.
Coming off of a standout victory last week against the Vancouver Whitecaps, this time it was the injury–plagued Sporting Kansas City side that sat back and ultimately kept the Sounders at bay, and from getting the result they had hoped for.
“In a game like this you’re not going to get 10 to 15 chances. You’re only going to get one or two and you need to finish them,” said Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid.
Though Seattle forward Chad Barrett had found the net twice last week, and fellow strike partner Clint Dempsey is leading the league in assists, it was SKC’s stingy mentality of not allowing goals at any cost that prevented the rave green from scoring.
SKC lost forward Dom Dwyer to injury in the warm up, which altered a proposed 4-3-3 lineup to a more defensive 4-5-1. The Sounders enjoyed a lion’s share of possession, but was unable to capitalize on their work with the ball.
As SKC sat back, the Sounders were begging for a long ball to open up the game. An injection of pace, usually offered by Obafemi Martins, was also lacking as the Nigerian missed his second game in a row to injury. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso saw opportunities to spread the play wide and release Seattle’s fullbacks, but overall SKC held their shape and squashed any chance for Seattle to get in behind.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the tie, we want to win at home,” Schmid said.
The match was the first of a three game home stint for the Sounders, who will face Colorado and the New York Red Bulls in the next week.
Though Seattle controlled the tempo from the start, it was Sporting that was presented the first opportunity of the game. A long throw-in bounced through the box and fell to SKC forward Krisztian Nemeth, who bundled his effort from six yards out right into the hands of Seattle keeper Stefan Frei.
On the rare occasion when space would open up and the Sounders had freedom to run at the SKC back line, the chances weren’t often as clear cut as the Sounders had hoped. Barrett had a clean look at goal on 30 minutes, but he couldn’t connect on the shot and it turned an easy save for Tim Melia, in goal for Sporting.
Brad Evans, again looking more comfortable at his new center-half position, nicked possession and began a 4-on-3 counter attack for the Sounders. Evans had options to both sides, but he opted to go for a curling right-footed effort, that unfortunately sat up on him and sailed just over the bar.
Lamar Neagle had a chance to open the scoring just after halftime, but his effort was dragged wide after he was played in behind the SKC defense. It took until the 93rd minute for Frei to be seriously tested this match, as a shot from SKC midfielder Benny Feilhaber required a save at full stretch from the Swiss international.
The draw leaves Seattle in second place in the Western Conference, a point back of FC Dallas with a game in hand.