Sounders Insider

Postgame discussion: PKs, gulps and ghosts

Here's my game story.

Two main postgame issues:

First: Montero wasn't supposed to take the PK.

Second: Gulp.

First things first: Coach Sigi Schmid said Fredy Montero wasn't supposed to take the penalty shot, but that the man he had assigned to take it deferred. Schmid wouldn't name the player -- although he'll clearly hear about it at training Friday.

"There was a player designated to hit the PK," Schmid said. "He needs to stand up and take responsibility for that. I haven't blown up about it yet, but I'll blow up tomorrow."

Montero said that an interpreter that he was offered the chance to take the kick and that he wanted to because he is the team's leading goal-scorer.

(Montero also picked up a yellow card tonight, pushing him to five on the season and therefore meaning he'll have to sit out the Sounders' next game.)

However, the bigger issue is that this sunny season with the Sounders as the darlings of American soccer is taking on a few clouds. Kasey Keller came the closest to pointing out that this team is in a race for the playoffs and that it can't afford to come up empty at home against .500 teams.

"It's time to truly to see if we are a playoff (team) and a contender in this league," Keller said. "This is the time when you need to start getting your form to get into playoffs. Nothing would be worse for me to have as good a season as we've had and then let it fizzle out at the end."

The Sounders have come away with three points only once in their last five games, and they've been shutout in all four of the non-victories. Tonight's result kept Seattle (8-6-8, 32 pts.) in fifth place in a league where the top eight teams make the playoffs. (They are certain to drop one more spot Saturday, if either club can get three points out the Chivas USA-Toronto FC game.) Five of Seattle's remaining eight games are on the road, starting Sunday at Western-leader Houston.

"Every time we play at home we want to win," coach Sigi Schmid said. "For the most part I thought we carried the game, but at the end of the day you've got to score goals."

The Sounders ended a club-record 335-minute scoreless streak last week in Los Angeles. However, it proved to be a brief reprieve as Seattle fired 11 shots against the Revs -- none on goal.

"It looked like we could have played maybe three or four games tonight and not scored," Keller said. "It's difficult. I thought maybe after the win at L.A. we wanted to maybe get a good run going. We have so few home games left we truly wanted to take advantage of it. I think sometimes when you have a pretty good home record, you've got great fans, sometimes you take things for granted a little bit like you're going to show up and it's just going to go your way."

Both teams started with aimless offenses featuring lots of high 50-50 balls being volleyed about.

Fittingly for this lost night, the most upbeat pregame storylines didn't pan out either: Sainey Nyassi started for New England, but was subbed out in the 68th minute. Sanna Nyassi came on for Seattle in the 69th minute.

Oh yes, and one more thing. As I sit here in the press box, a crew is on the pitch wiping off the soccer lines, which are soon to be replaced by the American football lines and numbers for the Seahawks first home game of the new season on Saturday.

The Sounders have always said they're serious about keeping a pristine pitch for MLS games. But there are concerns about what they call "ghosting" -- faint lines, numbers and logos remaining faintly visible despite best efforts to erase them.

I guess we'll have to wait for Toronto's visit on Aug. 29 to find out.

Final: Revs win, 1-0.

It was the fourth league game out of the last five that Seattle has failed to score.

The Sounders remain in third place in the Western Conference and could fall to fourth as early as Saturday, if Chivas wins at home against Toronto.

I'll be back with notes and quotes.

69th minute: Now Sanna Nyassi is in for Seattle ... replacing Vagenas.

68th minute: Sainey Nyassi out for New England ... the brothers won't share the pitch.

64th minute: Le Toux in for Jaqua.

Second half: No lineup changes.

Halftime: New England 1, Seattle 0.

Seattle outshot NE, 7-3. In fact, the Sounders started to dominate after Joseph's goal. But they haven't gotten anything on goal yet. Or, of course, in goal.

Four cautions have been issued -- all in the final four minutes of the first half, and Revs' acting coach Paul Mariner has apparently been sent off for dissent. So it will be interesting to see if the ref can keep control over the next 45 minutes ... which will be a very big half for each team's playoff hopes.

43rd minute: Montero draws a foul in the box. But he misses the PK, which hit the crossbar and bounced down just outside of the goal line.

21st minute: Shalrie Joseph takes a pass in the penalty area and just muscled through Peter Vagenas to finish from close range. Joseph is listed as 6-3, Vagenas at 5-8.

Kickoff: Revs in white/white. Sounders back in -- gulp --green/blue.

Referee is Baldomero Toledo.

Here we go.

(And remember, tonight's game is on ESPN2.)

Houston's first DP will face Sounders: Here's the news from the Dynamo site.

Golden scarf: It goes to John Nordstrom.

Lineups: For Sounders: GK Keller; D Riley, Hurtado, Ianni, Gonzalez; M Evans, Alonso, Vagenas, Zakuani; F Jaqua, Montero.

For New England: GK Reis; D Alston, Barnes, Osei, Heaps; M Ralston, Joseph, Larentowicz, Mansally; F Nyassi, Jankauskas.

Sanna Nyassi and Ben Dragavon are among the Seattle reserves. Ljungberg is not.

Pregame: The stadium hasn't opened to fans yet, but down on the pitch is Freddie Ljungberg doing a pregame kicking and leg work. He still isn't expected to play, however.

Meanwhile, normal gameday blogging is planned: Pregame news as it happens, lineups, in-game reports, and then postgame notes and quotes. And, of course, comments are always appreciated.