Sounders Insider

Salt Lake takes 3-0 advantage as series shifts to Seattle

Those Sounders FC playoff problems continued tonight, as Real Salt Lake opened their two-game, aggregate-score series with a dominating 3-0 win.

"We're lucky we didn't lose six-nothing," coach Sigi Schmid said. "We were well served by only losing three-nothing. We played not well and I thought Real Salt Lake played very well. A bad time for us to choose to have a bad game. Obviosuly they had a very, very good game. Hats off to them."

The result actually represents the score halfway through a 180-minute competition. So the Sounders will have three goals to make up Wednesday when the series resolves at CenturyLink Field.

These were the No. 2 and 3 clubs during the MLS regular season, with Seattle finishing 10 points ahead of Salt Lake. However, RSL dominated their first playoff before a crowd of 17,066 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Only missed chances and some diving Kasey Keller saves kept the game scoreless until deep into the first half.

RSL finally broke through in the 41st minute. Chris Wingert had found space in the penalty area and sent the ball to the far post, where Alvaro Saborio nudged it in.

Referee Mark Geiger ran to the sideline to discuss possible offside with his lineman before awarding the goal.

Soon thereafter, Geiger whistled to an end what had been a bad first half for the Sounders, who put no shots on goal compared to five by Salt Lake.

Still, the second half somehow started worse, with RSL dominating early. Seattle was fortunate to survive a three-shot sequence in the 47th minute with Keller making two point-blank saves, but not being able to control either. The treat ended as Andy Williams sent the second rebound over the bar.

However, Salt Lake pushed it to 2-0 in the 53rd minute, when Javier Morales rolled a ball across the penalty area, and Saborio back-heeled it just inside the far post.

Ned Grabavoy added one from close range in the 88th minute.

The winner of this series will go on to the Western Conference final Nov. 6 against the winner of the New York-Los Angeles series, which begins Sunday.

Seattle is now 0-4-1 in MLS playoff games and they have been outscored by a total of 7-1.

I'll add more quotes in new posts below. Here are the unofficial stats:

Scoring Summary:RSL - Alvaro Saborio (Chris Wingert) 41'RSL - Alvaro Saborio (Javier Morales) 53'RSL - Ned Grabavoy 88'

Real Salt Lake -Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Nat Borchers (Luis Gil 84), Jamison Olave (Chris Schuler 32), Chris Wingert, Kyle Beckerman, Andy Williams, Will Johnson, Javier Morales (Ned Grabovoy 79), Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio.

Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Arturo Alvarez, Collen Warner, Paulo Jr.

TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Saborio 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 12 (Saborio 3); FOULS: 11 (Olave, Russell, Williams, Saborio 2); OFFSIDES: 4 (Saborio, Espinolda 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Morales 4); SAVES: 0.

Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kenedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Lamar Neagle (Erik Friberg 60), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque 77) Sammy Ochoa (Mike Fucito 63), Fredy Montero.

Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl, Nate Jaqua.

TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Fernandez 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 0; FOULS: 11 (Gonzalez 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 7 (Fernandez, Friberg 3); SAVES: 9 (Keller 9).

Misconduct Summary:RSL -- Fabian Espinolda (caution) 30' SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 54'SEA -- Fredy Montero (caution) 90'SEA -- Erik Friberg (caution) 93'

Referee: Mark GeigerReferee's Assistants: Joe Fletcher, Steven Taylor4th Official: Silviu PetrescuAttendance: 17,067Time of Game: 1:50Weather: Clear and 50 degrees

77th minute: Still 2-0, RSL. And RSL still having far the better of it.

Seattle has made its three subs: Friberg for Neagle, Fucito for Ochoa and Levesque for Fernandez.

53rd minute: GOAL Salt Lake. Really nice backheel by Saborio on assist from Morales. RSL, 2-0.

Second half: ... has begun. (Or second quarter, depending on how you want to look at two-game, aggregate-score match.)

Halftime: RSL, 1-0. Shots 9-6, RSL. Shots on goal, 5-0 RSL.

41st minute: GOAL Salt Lake. Saborio -- at the far corner of goal -- nudges in a cross/pass rolling across the goalmouth. Referee Mark Geiger checks with his linesman for offside before awarding goal. RSL, 1-0.

32nd minute: RSL defender Olave out with injury. Meanwhile, Friberg jogging sideline for Seattle.

20 minutes: Still scoreless, but game opening up. Header by Neagle misses. Then Keller has to get down for a punch save on the other end.

First 10 minutes: First few minutes just feeling out. But Real Salt Lake getting the far better of it lately.

Kickoff: Game has begun. Sounders in rave/rave; RSL in red/red.

RSL was hoping for a sellout, but it's not even close. Full sections open in the upper deck.

Lineups: Here's Sounders: GK: 18-Kasey KellerRD: 7-James Riley CD: 31-Jeff Parke CD: 34-Jhon Kennedy Hurtado LD: 12-Leo Gonzalez RMF: 27-Lamar Neagle CMF: 3-Brad Evans CMF: 6-Osvaldo Alonso LMF: 15-Alvaro Fernandez FW: 17-Fredy Montero FW: 19-Sammy Ochoa

Bench FW: 2-Mike Fucito DF: 5-Tyson Wahl MF: 8-Erik Friberg DF: 20-Zach Scott FW: 21-Nate Jaqua MF: 24-Roger Levesque GK: 35-Bryan Meredith

For RSL: Starting XI: Rimando, Russell, Borchers, Olave, Wingert; Beckerman, Williams, Johnson, Morales; Espindola, Saborio. Reserves: Reynish, Schuler, Grabavoy, AAlvarez, Warner, Gil, Paulo Jr.Gates open: We're an hour before kickoff, and the gates have just opened. One left-upper-deck corner on the side of the field that will face the TV camera is full of Sounders fans. Very impressive as always. I also noted a few rave green jerseys around Temple Square downtown today.

Pregame: It's a beautiful day in the Salt Lake basin, slowly turning into a nice but chilly night.

Very big game between Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake kicks off at 7 p.m. Pacific Time (it's an hour later at Rio Tinto Stadium). The game will be broadcast on Fox Soccer and the usual radio outlets. And we'll be giving pregame, in-game and postgame updates here and on Twitter @donruiztnt.

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