The Seattle Sounders needed a hand to get further ahead in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Instead, Roman Torres’ hand and Real Salt Lake forward Sebastian Jaime’s head saw the visitors stumble to a 2-0 loss Saturday night.
UTAH — The Seattle Sounders needed a hand to get further ahead in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
Instead, Roman Torres’ hand and Real Salt Lake forward Sebastian Jaime’s head saw the visitors stumble to a 2-0 loss Saturday night.
Torres lost his concentration for a split second in the 12th minute, bringing an awkward loose ball down with a glance off his forearm. RSL midfielder Javier Morales stutter-stepped from the spot and sent goalkeeper Stefan Frei the wrong way, scoring the only goal RSL would need.
Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said he thought Torres was on the line of the box and that the penalty decision was a “tie goes to the runner” situation.
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“For me it wasn’t a shot, it was more of a deflection that comes off the hand, so that’s a difficult one,” he said. “But we’ve had a penalty the last two games, so it is what it is.”
“They outworked us in the first 20 minutes,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We told our team to be prepared for that, that they would come out hard and that’s where we lost the game.”
On the second goal, RSL forward Joao Plata knocked it back to midfielder Luke Mulholland, whose shot ricocheted off the corner of the crossbar into Jaime’s path. Jaime then headed the ball in cooly for a score.
After scoring six goals in the last two games, the Sounders’ well ran dry with only a handful of shots on frame.
Following his brace against Orlando City last week, Obafemi Martins was left to create many of his own chances and found either midfielder Kyle Beckerman or center back Jamison Olave breathing down his neck for the majority of the evening.
Martins’ best chance came in the 35th minute when his shot bounced off the crossbar. A left-footed shot from the forward in the 57th minute dragged across the face of the goal, but was no real threat to RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
The Sounders struggled to find any sort of creative touch, sending aimless long balls over the top and getting jumbled up in the box when a real chance may have presented itself.
Evans said after RSL jumped out to an early lead, they congested the midfield to prevent any semblance of flow.
“Things just weren’t clicking from minute one. They won every second ball and obviously with a 12th-minute penalty kick, playing here and scoring early goals, it’s a very difficult place to play,” he said.
On the other end, Seattle’s defenders struggled to contain Jaime, who slipped past the backline repeatedly to set himself or others up for chances.
Seattle lost ground to both RSL and the San Jose Earthquakes, who scored a 2-0 win over DC United earlier Saturday.