There weren’t too many chances for the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night in Frisco, Texas. Only two shots on goal, in fact.
Still, one of those — off the right foot of Mauro Rosales — beat Kevin Hartman to the near post, and it turned out to be enough as the Sounders gutted out a 1-0 road win. With the victory, Seattle (12-5-9) leapfrog FC Dallas in the standings and tuck in behind the LA Galaxy in the race for the Supporters' Shield.
With temperatures at kickoff hovering around the triple digits, Pizza Hut Park resembled an oven during this Western Conference clash.
“It was a tough game,” Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “We didn’t play as well as we should have. We scored a goal early and hung on for dear life.”
Seattle owe the three points to Rosales, who finished ably when set up by Fredy Montero. While much has been made of Seattle’s inability to add a striker before the close of the transfer window, the Sounders midfield continues to contribute goals.
Between Álvaro Fernández (six goals), Rosales (four), Brad Evans (four), and Osvaldo Alonso (three), Seattle’s midfielders have picked up the scoring slack.
Rosales’ calm on the winning goal turned out to be the difference.
“It was a good play,” Schmid said of the goal. "Fredy then drew in the defenders and found Mauro and he finished it home past Kevin."
After a midweek match, Seattle failed to hold possession against FC Dallas, who posted a 60.3 percent advantage in that statistic. For Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid, it was the converse of the match in Seattle, where the Sounders maintained the majority of possession but eventually fell by the same 1-0 margin.
“That was a game we were unfortunate to lose, while tonight was a game we were fortunate to win,” Schmid said. “I thought we did well, we scored the opening goal and we had some good chances early on and also later in the game.”
When Seattle did have the ball, Schellas Hyndman’s team did a good job of limiting Seattle’s touches in dangerous areas. The choppy affair was interrupted by 41 total fouls over the course of the 90 minutes, including Daniel Cruz’s red card.
However, Seattle’s defensive gambit of inserting Leo González and Zach Scott as marking backs to limit Marvin Chávez and Brek Shea, respectively, paid dividends. The two FC Dallas playmakers combined for 10 shots, but only one of those was on goal.
Keller did the rest, coming up huge in stoppage time to ensure the victory.
“He made a huge save at the end of the day for us,” Schmid said of the veteran 'keeper. “He also dealt a lot with the crosses and made sure we stayed marked up.”
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS