Keller, Sounders salvage crucial draw against Columbus

The streak continues.

The Sounders have still not lost to the Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer play and after Saturday’s scrappy 1-1 draw, they have their goalkeeper to thank.

Playing their third match over eight days, Seattle leaned heavily on veteran goalkeeper Kasey Keller to come away with the road point. In inclement weather conditions and with fatigue evident, the Sounders could not hold on to an early lead given to them by Fredy Montero in the seventh minute.

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By the 90th minute, some might consider them lucky to even hold on to a draw as the Crew laid siege to Keller’s net for vast portions of the second half.

“I was pleased getting a tie,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We took the lead early and were hoping to be able to hold on to it. Tired legs got the best of us in the second half. The Crew played with a lot of energy and pushed their players forward so we had to hold on a little at the end.”

Keller, 41, finished with five saves on a night when the Sounders were outshot 16-7. His stops came in all varieties, but had one thing in common – Keller made them all look very easy.

In the first half, he was down quickly to his right to deny Eddie Gaven. Later in the half, he cut out the angle to snuff out a chance from Robbie Rogers. In the second half, saves on Gaven and Andres Mendoza kept Seattle in a match where they had trouble matching the home team’s energy.

“In the end, it’s a good point,” Keller said. “They were pushing for the win and had a number of corners at the end. We hung on and in the end it was a good point. I think we faded a little bit at the end, but it’s normal.”

The win continues Schmid’s dominance over his former right-hand man, Robert Warzycha. Including tonight’s result, Seattle holds a 3-0-3 all time advantage over Schmid’s former charges, including a Seattle victory in the 2010 US Open Cup final.  

Seattle went without midfielder Brad Evans (quadriceps) and Mauro Rosales (hamstring), and both are question marks as the team heads home to face the Portland Timbers at Qwest Field on May 14.

Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS