SEATTLE – Fabián Espíndola scored just out of halftime and Real Salt Lake snapped the Seattle Sounders’ six-match unbeaten streak with a 1-0 victory at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.
In the 50th minute, Luis Gil dropped a ball over the Sounders backline that Espíndola volleyed with his left foot from about 16 yards out, beating Sounders goalkeeper Bryan Meredith to the far post.
The goal marked the first time in 500 minutes that Seattle had trailed in a game. It also ended a 321-minute shutout streak for the Sounders, 275 minutes of which came with Meredith in net.
Up until the goal, most of the run of play had belonged to the hosts. Eddie Johnson got probably the two best looks of the first half, but was unable to do much with either.
In the 15th minute, Johnson was able to get position on his defender inside the six-yard box, but his header from a well-placed Adam Johansson cross went well wide.
Just a minute later, the former US international created his own chance with a series of stepovers that created some space about 10 yards out. He had a clean look at the goal, but he sent his shot high.
RSL were mostly content to bunker-and-counter in the first half. Their best chance came in the 23rd minute when Will Johnson found some space on the left wing, but his shot from about 15 yards out was easily saved by Meredith.
The Sounders were never really able to get untracked, largely missing any kind of touch in the offensive third. RSL’s backline held Fredy Montero to without a real scoring opportunity all game after a three-game stretch in which he had scored three goals and had an assist.
Saturday's match marked the first of three during the regular season between the Western Conference rivals.
With the victory, Real Salt Lake extended their lead atop the Western table. They improve to 8-3-2 and extend their own unbeaten streak to five matches heading into a bye week. RSL next host FC Dallas on May 26.
Seattle, meanwhile, tasted defeat for the first time since March 31 and fall to 7-2-1. They next head north to face Cascadia rivals Vancouver on May 19.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jámison Olave||There's a reason red-hot Montero was invisible all game. Monster performance by monster Colombian.|
|2||Nat Borchers||Olave's partner in crime did the business as well, keeping Seattle's attack out of the box all game.|
|3||Osvaldo Alonso||Cuban midfielder put in his usual dominant work in d-mid, keeping RSL's attack mostly corked.|