Sounders Insider

Wizards 1, Sounders 0: Postgame discussion

Here's my game story.

The Sounders gave up their first goal, lost their first game, fell out of first place for the first time, and lost their star keeper to a red card which also will keep him out of next Saturday's game with the now-first-place Chivas USA.

Quite a night at Qwest for the 28,746 in attendance.

"I think the thing I'm most proud of is we played a man down for (61) minutes, and Kansas City is celebrating quite extensively at the end of the game," coach Sigi Schmid said. "And that shows how much respect we've already garnered in this league. If they're really excited about playing a man up for (61) minutes and winning a 1-0 squeaker, it shows that there's a lot of respect for what we've done as a team so far."

Kansas City certainly seemed to take it that way.

"This is a great win for us," said Davy Arnaud, who scored the lone goal. "They had a great start, they are a very good team, and we knew that coming in. It is a very good thing for the league when new teams come in and the fans support the way they do. It's all very positive. Obviously, it ended with a good result for us."

The key sequence came in the 29th minute when Wizards midfielder Herculez Gomez sped past Seattle defender Zach Scott. Facing Gomez one-on-one, Keller charged out of the penalty area and swung one elbow into the ball, deflecting it.



That may have saved the goal, but at high cost: an immediate red card for Keller, who had been in his 299th MLS minute without having allowed a goal.

"It was difficult," Keller said. "I've not been sent off in 17 years, so it felt kind of strange when I saw that red card come out. Rules are rules I guess, but my arms weren't out wide, they were kind of up against my chest. But like I said, rules are rules, it hit me in the arms, and I was sent off."

Keller was replaced by rookie Ben Dragavon, who drew his first MLS action after playing at Monroe High School, Western Washington University and the USL Sounders. Dragavon is on the roster as what MLS called an "extreme hardship call-up," which is allowed when a team has fewer than two available goalkeepers. He is, in effect, the Sounders' No. 3 goalkeeper behind Keller and top reserve Chris Eylander, who returned to practice this week after suffering a preseason knee injury.

He and the Sounders held off the Wizards for 51 minutes, with Dragavon making a couple of saves along the way. But in the 80th minute, Arnaud unleashed a low sizzler from about 30 yards out, and it beat the diving Dragavon low and to his right.

"It started off coming at me then it just broke off," Dragavon said. "… I got a hand on it. I actually thought I got enough to push it around the post, but it hit the side netting. It's rough."

The Sounders' loss and Chivas USA's draw with the LA Galaxy moved Chivas one point ahead of the Sounders in the MLS Western Conference standings.

Seattle returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday ... at Chivas.

According to MLS rules, Keller must sit out that game, too. However, Eylander said he should be ready.

Final: Kansas City wins, 1-0. And as I type this, Chivas and the Galaxy are tied in Los Angeles. If that result holds, Chivas will move one point ahead of the Sounders in the MLS West.

I'll be back with notes and quotes.

Meanwhile, how did it look to you.

80th minute: The Sounders' scoreless streak ended 350 minutes into their history as Kansas City's Davy Arnaud whistled a 30-yard whistler past emergency keeper Ben Dragavon to put the Wizards ahead, 1-0.

Halftime: Nil-nil. Kansas City seems to have somewhat the better run of play. No real good chances for the Sounders, with their best being off of a couple of set pieces.

29th minute: Kasey Keller was called for an intentional handball outside the box on a Kansas City breakaway. That's an automatic red card, so now Ben Dragavon is in goal for the Sounders, who are playing short-handed (Sebastien Le Toux went off).

Kickoff: The Sounders' fourth-ever game has begun. Wizards in blue jerseys and white pants, Sounders in their home green/blue.

There is a pretty stiff breeze, and it seems to be at the Sounders' backs at the start.

Golden scarf: Tonight's Golden Scarf has been awarded to Microsoft/Xbox executive Robbie Bach.

6:50: We've gotten the starting lineup, and with it, the answer to our question. Fredy and Freddie are in and Steve Zakuani goes to the bench, despite a goal and an assist over the rookie's last two games.

Here's the lineup: GK Keller, DF Riley, Hurtado, Marshall, Scott; MD Le Toux, Alonso, Ljungberg, Evans; FW Montero, Jaqua.

Here's the Wiz: GK Hartman, DF Watson, Conrad, Hohlbein, Besler; MD Gomez, Hirsig, Jewsbury, Wolff; FW Arnaud, Lopez.

6 p.m. I'm at Qwest Field on a breezy evening, but one with occasional sun breaks. Gates have just opened. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. The game will be shown live on KONG 6/16. Here's my pregame report from this morning's paper.

For those of you about to leave for the stadium, note the traffic alert from a few posts below. Things weren't bad when I entered the garage, but I was real early.

The plan is for me to keep the blog alive -- or at least on alert -- most of the evening. I'll pop in with lineups and any other pregame news, then will give in-game reports, including alerts on all goals. Then I'll return after the game with notes and quotes. And I'm sure hoping you guys will pop in with some good in-game or postgame discussion as you did last week from the Toronto game.

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