The goal also ended Seattle’s shutout streak at 321 minutes and the shutout streak of goalkeeper Brian Meredith at 275 minutes. It marked the first time the Sounders had given up a goal in the run of play since the season opener – a total of 798 minutes.
And when the Sounders’ were unable to answer with a goal of their own, Espindola’s score also proved to be the game-winner for RSL in the Western Conference showdown before a crowd of 39,312, largest of the season at CenturyLink Field.
That result also ended the Sounders’ five-game winning streak dating to the first week of April and a six-game unbeaten string dating to the last week of March.
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That’s a lot of impact for a 15-yard kick that came against the run of play in a game Seattle had seemed to control most of the way.
It came when Espindola split a couple of Seattle defenders in the penalty area, and then one-touched it past Meredith to the far side.
The result leaves Salt Lake at the top of the Major League Soccer standings with an 8-3-2 record and 26 points. Seattle dropped to 7-2-1 and remains at 22 points.
In one piece of good news, Sounders midfielder Alvaro Fernandez returned to action in the 58th minute after missing the previous five games with a quadriceps strain.
The game was the fifth in 15 days for the Sounders, who face just one game next week: a Saturday visit to Vancouver.75th minute:
Cato in for Rosales.
58th minute: Alvaro Fernandez makes his return to the Sounders, replacing David Estrada.
51st minute: GOAL Salt Lake. Fabian Espindola scores between two Sounders in the area. Sounders/Meredith scorless streaks come to an end. RSL, 1-0.
Second half: ... has begun.
Halftime: Scoreless. Better chances to Sounders. I thought Jeff Parke had an especially nice half.
Sounders up to 316 minutes without allowing a goal. Meredith up to 270.
Shots 4-2, Sea; shots on goal, 1-0 RSL; corners 1-0, Sea; fouls 6-5, Sea; duels won, 56.8 Sea; possession, 52.9, Sea.
Through 30: Both teams are getting balls into the area, where they die of clunky first touches and shots.
20th minute: Early RSL sub, Schuler in for defender Wingert, who has a left hamstring strain.
First 15: Fair chance to Rose and a couple of nice chances to Johnson. Seattle inching toward the upper hand.
First 10 minutes: Feeling out. No great chances yet.
Kickoff: We're under way (KING 5, and usual radio ... and here.) Sounders in rave/blue; RSL in red/red.
Lineups: For Seattle: GK Meredith; D Johansson, Hurtado, Parke, Burch; M Rosales, Alonso, Rose, Estrada; F Montero, Johnson. Reserves: Weber, Carrasco, Caskey, Cato, Duran, Fernandez, Levesque.
For RSL: GK Rimando,D Beltran, Olave, Borchers, Wingert; M Beckerman, Gravavoy, Johnson, Gil; F Saborio, Espindola. Reserves: Reynish, Alvarez, Juniot, Bonfigli, Schuler, Steele, Tanaka.
Pregame: There's a little bit of an extra buzz around CenturyLink Field today. Obviously it doesn't hurt a bit that it's about as perfect a day as you could possibly hope for. But this Seattle-Salt Lake match also is about as perfect an MLS match as you could possibly hope for.We'll keep this post open all even for pregame, in-game and postgame reports. First news up could be the starting lineup, which could be interesting in a number of ways.