SEATTLE — Real Salt Lake will have to be satisfied with sharing the record for most consecutive games without a loss to open a Major League Soccer season.
Missing three players due to international call-ups and being short two more due to injury concerns, RSL were dealt their first loss in 13 games, falling 4-0 to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders, who were missing two of their own stars due to international duty, got goals from Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa, Chad Barrett and Obafemi Martins to stretch their lead in the Western Conference to five points over RSL. The Sounders have now gone 2-0-1 in matches without their international contingent and lead the Supporters’ Shield race with 29 points.
Although the final score looked like a rout, the first 40-odd minutes were tightly contested with the two teams combining for just one shot and about 20 fouls.
The Sounders appropriately opened the scoring given their emerging edge in the match, albeit through a dubious penalty. After nimble feet by Pappa on the sideline, Brad Evans sent a dangerous cross into the penalty area and Barrett kept the play alive with a header. Lamar Neagle was first to it, but his first touch sent the ball toward goal where RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella appeared in position to kill the danger. But as Attinella reached for the ball, Neagle poked it free. As Neagle raced to the loose ball, defender Aaron Maund knocked him over with what seemed to be shoulder-to-shoulder contact.
For the second straight game, Pineda immediately took the ball, blasting his shot into the side netting despite Attinella guessing the right way.
That sent RSL into halftime trailing for just the second time this season.
The late first half goal sparked the Sounders after the restart. Just seven minutes after halftime, Pappa curled in a beautiful free kick from about 25 yards out, bending his shot over the wall and just inside the near post.
The Sounders put the match away in the 62nd minute on Barrett’s third goal of the season and capped the scoring with a Martins tap in during stoppage time. The resounding score line marked the third time this season the Sounders netted at least four goals in a match.
Seattle moves to 9-3-2 (29 points) and will play their final game before the World Cup break on June 7 at the Chicago Fire. Real Salt Lake fell to 6-1-6 (24 points) and next play on June 4 at the Columbus Crew before closing out their pre-break schedule with a home game against the Portland Timbers on June 7.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Marco Pappa||What a signing Pappa has turned out to be. After a rocky start to the season, his technical ability, distribution, and (now) finishing have been instrumental of late|
|2||Obafemi Martins||Stephan Keshi were you watching? Martins constantly caused problems in the final third. Will Nigeria miss Martins' prowess in front of goal? Time will tell|
|3||Osvaldo Alonso||Won everything in the midfield. A depleted Real Salt Lake didnt stand a chance.|
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com