By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
SANDY, UTAH — The Seattle Sounders’ winless streak lives on, but the club seemed willing to live with that after its scoreless draw at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
“We’re happy with the result,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We’re happy that we played to a shutout. That was one of the things that we wanted to concentrate on today. We almost had a chance (from Cordell Cato) at the end that would have gotten us through.”
Seattle (7-5-6) extended its club-record winless streak to nine games, accumulating four losses and five draws over the stretch.
However, RSL (10-6-3) came in with a nagging stretch of its own, having lost three straight. Even at that, they are in second place in the Western Conference and never easy to beat at home.
Given all that, Schmid and most of his players seemed satisfied to take their point, even if it extended a streak that dates back to a May 12 home loss to RSL.
“Obviously, we’ve got to get out of this streak,” Schmid said. “We have to start winning games. It will help our confidence level as well. We thought we had one last week (at New England) and if we would have gotten away with that one – which we thought we should have – then we’d be OK right now. This is a hard place to play. They’re a good team. They were coming off of three losses — they were highly motivated, they were sharp, they were enthusiastic in their play.”
Salt Lake held 65 percent of the possession, although Schmid noted that much of that was in non-threatening spots. The home team also took 11 shots to Seattle’s eight.
One apparent RSL goal by Alvaro Saborio was waved off due to an offside call in the second half. But the Sounders had their own near-misses, including the late one from Cato.
“We got a counterattack, and Mauro (Rosales) was bursting down the left side, so I was trying my best coming down the center midfield to get there,” Cato said. “That’s what happens sometimes, man. I just got there a little late.”
Cato entered in the 73rd minute for Fredy Montero.
Injuries forced Seattle into a new defensive look. Midfielder Servando Carrasco got his second start of the season, filling in for Osvaldo Alonso, who was serving a yellow-card suspension. Bryan Meredith returned to goal, filling in while Michael Gspurning and Andrew Weber are out with injuries.
“It just gave me a second chance to prove myself,” said Meredith, who had started seven games before losing the job to Weber late last month. “I think this opportunity is a little more important because I know they have an expectation now of how I can play, so they want me to exceed that expectation every single game.”
Meredith made two saves in recording his third shutout.
“It was one of those games where we told ourselves we were going to play to zero, and we did execute on that part of the game,” Carrasco said. “Whenever you play to zero, you give yourself a chance to win, and that’s what we tried to do. … I think it was a good defensive match for us. But at the same time, the label that we have right now on our backs is that we haven’t won in nine games, and we’re very aware of that. So going back home on Saturday, I think we’re going to turn things around.”
The Sounders face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at CenturyLink Field.