The Sounders and Fire each pick up a point and each goes into the All-Star break 7-3-8. In the MLS standings, that sends Seattle into the break in second place in the West, just one point ahead of the Galaxy -- who tied Kansas City 1-1 tonight -- and just two points ahead of Chivas USA.
For the most part, the Sounders seem pleased with the season at it reaches this natural pause. However, they are getting frustrated a bit at the lack of finishes ... both today and as a growing trend to the season.
Coach Sigi Schmid -- at least publicly -- was purely annoyed at the ref, and not at Ljungberg for his complaint. And Ljungberg himself said the second yellow came too early for too little and that he doesn't regret not just walking away.
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* It appears Ljungberg will have to miss the next two games: one for sure because of this red, but also probably the next due to yellow-card accumulation, which reached the magic number on the first yellow. However, we didn't receive confirmation from the league.
* Today's Sounders' attendance at Qwest: 32,405.
Today's Mariners' attendance at Safeco: 29,213.
A few quotes:
I thought we had enough chances to win the game. We went at them early on. I thought we created a lot of things. Overall I wasn't displeased. At halftime I told the guys just continue to play the way we'd been playing, we'd been creating chances and to make sure we didn't get caught on the counter. They had one good chance at the end where they hit the post, I'm not sure if it came of our head or theirs. But outside of that I thought we had more of the game for sure. We were a little surprised to see (Jon) Busch in goal because I thought he was with the national team. I thought (Brad) Evans was with the national team too; I didn't see him out there today. We're a little bit surprised at that, how that works. Obviously they got the red card on the foul from behind and I just had the feeling, I told our coaches on the bench, that somewhere, somehow today we're going to get a red card. It was going to happen."
SCHMID on the team's performance against Cuauhtemoc Blanco:"I thought we did a pretty good job on him today. I thought in Chicago he really had an outstanding game against us and was really dominant. I thought today we really didn't give him that many good looks. He's an outstanding player so he's always going to find two or three or four passes that he can make but I think we really limited him. I didn't think we gave him a lot of looks forward and a lot of chances to play people in."
SCHMID the team going into the All-Star break:"I think right now the key for us is we've got to do a better job of finishing opportunities. I think we've created opportunities when we played Chelsea a week ago, but that clinical finishing still has to happen for us. There's times when we over hold it, over pass and we need to finish better. There's been very few games, especially recently, where I felt that we haven't created enough chances or that the opponent has created more than us. So finishing is definitely the key. Defensively our ability to hold the ball, our ability to balance people off offensively, we do a pretty good job of that. I'm pretty pleased with most of what we've done. It's just a matter of when we dominant games, the key to the sport is when you dominate games you've got to score goals and when you get dominated not to give any goals up. We're doing a good job of not giving the goals up in the periods of time when we dominate, but we're not turning our domination into the goals that we need and that's what happened today. If we get better at that, then we'll have even more success."
LJUNGBERG on the cards:"There was nothing after the first yellow. You could see that I go down on the side, away from him. I got suspended because of that. It was my fifth yellow so I got pissed off about that. I knew what he is like. He's been fretting me the whole game. I hit my chest and made conscious to not scream anything abusive at him. And then I hear some whistles behind me. But, I have got to just rise above it. I can't control him. Like I said, that's the way it is."
LJUNGBERG on whether he should have walked away after first yellow:"It's an important game and there were a lot of things wrong in that game, things that players from the other team were laughing behind his back sometimes. It's not the way a game should be. If I would not have cared, if I would have just walked away and didn't care, I wouldn't care to win the game. And that's not me. I always want to win."
Chicago coach DENIS HAMLETT overview:
"It was about as exciting as a zero-zero game as you will find in our league. I thought it was a great atmosphere and both teams came on here to attack. I think both teams had chances to win the game, in the end a fair result."
HAMLETT on Ljungberg's red:
"When he got the red I thought we had a chance. Guys lose their heads sometimes in this game, and you have to remind your players to stay focused, especially my guys, with the emotions being so high. Sometimes people overact and you try to find the right balance."
HAMLETT on the atmosphere:
"It is a great environment to play; there is a lot of pressure from the crowd. You see certain calls and I think that is because of the pressure. The guys looked forward to this environment; we could have done without the heat today. You have to tip your hat to Seattle as far as doing everything right. Every team that comes here wants to bring their best game because it such a great atmosphere."
Final: The first scoreless game in Sounders history is in the books.
Sounders and Fire each pick up a point, each move to the All-Star break at 7-3-8. Two of those draws came against each other: 1-1 in Chicago, 0-0 today before a crowd of 32,405. (I haven't heard yet what the Mariners drew across the street.)
All-Star game is Wednesday at Salt Lake. Sounders return to action Aug. 1 at San Jose. They return home Aug. 5 vs. Barcelona.
I'll be back with notes and quotes.
86th minute: Blanco out after a relatively quiet game ... not counting all the boos aimed at him through the second half.
65th minute: Chicago defender Brandon Prideaux, the former Husky and USL Sounder, has just subbed in for Baggio Husidic.
59th minute: Well, the Sounders were a man up for five minutes,and now we're playing 10-on-10.
Freddie Ljungberg picked up a yellow card for diving, and then another quickly thereafter for the inevitable dissent that followed. This also means he will be out at least for the Sounders' next league game at San Jose, but also perhaps for the following game, because he came into this one with four yellows on the season.
54th minute: The Sounders are playing a man up for the first time, as Chicago's John Thorrington just picked up his second yellow of the afternoon and was sent off.
Second half: No lineup changes as we begin.
Halftime: Seattle has had more and better chances, but we're scoreless at the half.
The best chance probably came in the 37th minute when Ljungberg and Montero combined to get the ball to Jaqua whose shot was blocked away by Fire keeper Jon Busch. Jaqua got the rebound, but his second try went right into Busch again.
Montero also had a shot clear of the Chicago defense, but probably rushed it a bit and put it over the top.
Both teams have seven shots, but Seattle put three on goal, Chicago one.
It's been a pretty chippy game again. Two yellow cards to Chicago, one to Seattle (Hurtado).
Kickoff: We're under way. Sounders in usual home green/blue, Fire in road white/white.
Despite predictions of potentially game-affecting heat, we're under full cloud cover right now. No shadows at all on the field, and apparently a fair breeze blowing.
Golden Scarf: Today's honor goes to Mike Ryan, a 2009 inductee to the Washington soccer hall of fame.
Screaming Fire: There is a larger-than-usual presence of red shirts in the visiting team section. Word is, there are a group of Portland supporters who came down here to join forces with the Fire supporters. (Perhaps under the theory that if you can't beat the Sounders, youself...)
(And now that I've gotten my binoculars out, yep, there are at least a couple of Timbers Army scarves in the group.)
Lineups: Just received the starting lineups.
For Sounders: GK Kasey Keller; D Riley, Hurtado, Ianni, Wahl; M Ljungberg, Alonso, Sturgis, Zakuani; F Jaqua, Montero.
For Chicago: GK Busch; D Ward, Conde, Segares, Brown; M Pappa, Husidic, Thorrington, Rolfe; F Blanco, Nyarko.
(The All-Stars are Keller, Hurtado, Ljungberg, Montero, Conde and Blanco.)
(However, former Husky and Sounder Brandon Prideaux is on the Chicago bench.)
At Qwest: I got here real early as usual ... to early to tell if there's any particular traffic issue with Sounders and Mariners both going this afternoon.
Normal gameday blogging planned: Pregame news as it happens, lineups, Golden Scarf, in-game updates, postgame notes and quotes, and ideally lots and lots of comments.
Saturday is here.