Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sounders, Real Salt Lake go scoreless in first leg

SEATTLE, Wash. - Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake battled to a scoreless draw Friday night in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. Goalkeepers Michael Gspurning and Nick Rimando made a combined nine saves in the match.

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Gspurning made four saves and recorded a shutout in his first career MLS playoff match. In the 23rd minute, he came off his line to smother a Ned Grabavoy breakaway, making a slide tackle at the edge of the box to clear the danger.

In the 38th minute, Marc Burch blocked a wide-open Kyle Beckerman shot from the top of the box, then Gspurning slapped away Will Johnson's rebound attempt at the near post.

The Austrian goalkeeper made two crucial second-half saves on Alvaro Saborio headers, first diving to smother a shot in the 47th minute, then diving hard to his right to cover up a strong header from the Costa Rican in the 85th minute.

RSL's keeper made five saves en route to his 10th career playoff shutout, including four in the opening 45 minutes.

In the 33rd minute, he made back-to-back diving stops on Seattle headers on consecutive corner kicks. First he parried a powerful Ochoa header over the crossbar, then similarly knocked away a Jhon Kennedy Hurtado header at the near post.

In the 51st, he made another diving save on a powerful header from Christian Tiffert in traffic.In second half stoppage time, Rimando dove to stop a Mauro Rosales cross intended for an open Fredy Montero.

Seattle saw its best chance to score in the 50th minute when Montero played to Brad Evans up the left side, who sent a cross to an open Ochoa in the box, but the striker's shot sailed high.

The second leg of the semifinal series will be played on Thursday, November 8 at Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. PT at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. 

American Red Cross volunteers raised $11,203 at tonight's match for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The Paul G. Allen Foundation matched $10,000 for a total of $21,203.

Scoring Summary:
None

Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Mauro Rosales (Steve Zakuani 90+4), Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert (Mario Martinez 82), Brad Evans, Fredy Montero, Sammy Ochoa (David Estrada 57).

Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Servando Carrasco, Alex Caskey, Zach Scott.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 13; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 4.


Real Salt Lake - Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe (Jamison Olave 76), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Yordany Alvarez 87), Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola (Paulo Jr.).

Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Luis Gil, Kenny Mansally, Jonny Steele.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 13; OFFSIDE: 1; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 4.


Misconduct Summary:
SEA - Jeff Parke (caution) 45+1'
RSL - Kyle Beckerman (caution) 53'
SEA - Brad Evans (caution) 54'
RSL - Javier Morales (caution) 56'