A sure-footed blast from striker Álvaro Saborío early in the second half was the lasting moment of a wild game on Saturday at CenturyLink Field, as Real Salt Lake snapped Seattle’s four-game unbeaten streak in league play with a 2-1 win.
Saborío capitalized on a missed clearance by Seattle’s Tyson Wahl in the 56th minute, and after his first attempt was blocked, he smashed the follow up into the net for his eighth goal of the season. It was just enough to keep RSL (13-7-6) on pace in the Supporters’ Shield race and avenged a loss to the Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium earlier this season that snapped Salt Lake’s MLS-record home winning streak.
Fredy Montero scored just before halftime for the Sounders (13-6-9), who lost for the first time in any game since July 30. The team posted a 7-0-1 record across all competitions during the month of August, including wins in both the CONCACAF Champions League and the US Open Cup.
But they were undone Saturday by the defensive lapse before Saborío’s goal and a stunning gaffe from goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who mishandled a seemingly harmless cross from RSL’s Fabian Espíndola and gifted RSL a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
The Sounders had their chance to make amends for the Keller miscue in the 16th minute, but Mauro Rosales missed a penalty shot wide after striker Mike Fucito was taken down in the box by RSL defender Jamison Olave.
The match also included two ejections, one for each team. The first red card was given to RSL’s Tony Beltran, who drew his second yellow card on a challenge against Rosales in the 35th minute
But before the Sounders could capitalize, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado suffered the same fate, picking up a straight red card for a serious foul after a collision with Saborío in the 39th minute.
Seattle did get something to show for an attractive first 45 minutes of attacking soccer with Montero’s goal. Rosales, who triggered Seattle’s attack all day from the right midfield position, crossed toward the center of the box where Montero lurked. The Colombian scored from close range for his seventh of the season.
But they simply couldn’t crack RSL’s defense after Saborío put the visitors up. Their best chance for an equalizer came in the 69th minute, when Wahl ripped a close shot that deflected off the face of RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando and out of harm’s way.
Substitute Pat Noonan also had a shot roll agonizingly past the far post in the 90th minute as Seattle attempted to salvage a point.