The offensive pressure disappeared, and the Sounders’ recent surge vanished along with it. Seattle (6-5-3, 21 points) had no answer Saturday night on either side of the pitch for Real Salt Lake (9-5-3, 30 points) at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT., dropping a 2-0 decision that was as lopsided as the final score indicated. Passing was lousy, no shot was attempted until the 73rd minute (0-8 in shots attempted at half, 1-5 in corner kicks), and it added up to a lousy post-bye-week start to a stretch of three road matches in the next four.
RSL, first in the Western Conference, took a 1-0 advantage on a rebound in the 41st minute. Midfielder Kyle Beckerman scored for the second time this season. The goal was set up when Seattle’s Servando Carrasco took down a few yards outside the box Alvaro Sabario. Javier Morales took the ensuing free kick, and the ball squirmed out of goalkeeper Michael Gspurning’s reach before Beckerman redirected.
Brad Evans, back from his stint with the U.S. Men’s National Team, held a quick players-only meeting near midfield before the start of the second half.
In the 46th minute, RSL forward Robbie Findley sneaked behind the defense and took a crack at Gspurning with a right-legged strike, the ball deflecting off the goalkeeper and back to him. The Oregon State graduate didn’t miss a second time, and the 19,848 in attendance no longer had reason to fret.
The 2-0 lead was never threatened.
The loss continued Seattle’s run of incompetence against the best clubs in the Western Conference. The combined aggregate road score against the LA Galaxy and RSL is 1-8. It also slowed Seattle’s run of five wins in the last six matches. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando has allowed two goals in his last seven matches against coach Sigi Schmid’s club.
The Sounders welcomed back to the starting lineup Evans and forward Eddie Johnson, (absent for the USMNT’s three World Cup qualifying matches) but both did little to offset a flat performance.
The two shots on goal tied a franchise nadir set in a 4-0 loss earlier this season to the Galaxy.
Meanwhile, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso missed his fourth consecutive match after aggravating a quadriceps injury May 26 in LA.
Seattle returns July 3 to CenturyLink Field against D.C. United.