Seattle • It was bound to happen.
Throughout its first 12 matches of 2014, Real Salt Lake had its share of fluid play and fortune. That was the sentiment entering perhaps the most-compelling match to date of the still-young 2014 campaign.
Seattle 4, RSL 0
RSL 0 0 — 0
Seattle 1 3 — 4
First half » 1, Seattle FC, Pineda 2 (penalty kick), 42nd minute.
Second half » 2, Seattle FC, Pappa 1, 55th. 3, Seattle FC, Barrett 3 (Neagle), 62nd. 4, Seattle FC, Martins 6 (Cooper), 90th.
Goalies » Real Salt Lake, Jeff Attinella Seattle FC, Stefan Frei.
Yellow Cards—Beltran, RSL, 43rd Borchers, Real Salt Lake, 76th Evans, Seattle FC, 80th.
Referee—Ricardo Salazar. Assistant Referees—James Conlee. Gianni Facchini. 4th Official—Tyler Ploeger.
Attendance » 39,245 (32,400)
Real Salt Lake—Jeff Attinella, Chris Wingert (Abdoulie Mansally, 59th), Nat Borchers, Aaron Maund, Tony Beltran, Luke Mulholland (John Stertzer, 74th), Cole Grossman (Luis Gil, 59th), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales, Devon Sandoval, Olmes Garcia.
Seattle FC—Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Marco Pappa, Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle (Dylan Remick, 75th), Gonzalo Pineda (Andy Rose, 90th), Brad Evans, Chad Barrett (Kenny Cooper, 67th), Obafemi Martins.
There would indeed come a time when the fluidity and fortune ran bone dry. It did on a splendid, sun-filled Saturday afternoon in downtown Seattle. Unfamiliar to a loss in nearly six months, RSL became reacquainted with that feeling against its rival Seattle Sounders in a resounding 4-0 defeat at CenturyLink Field.
With a chance to take the lead in the Western Conference standings against league-leading Seattle, RSL fell flat. The Sounders (9-3-2), with three points, moved to five points clear of RSL (6-1-6).
"We’re going to see these guys again," said defender Tony Beltran.
RSL surely will. And it’ll be a loss they won’t soon forget.
The club’s difficult day in the Emerald City had an interesting launching-off point. Referee Ricardo Salazar awarded Seattle with a penalty kick in the 41st minute when defender Aaron Maund went shoulder-to-shoulder with Seattle midfielder Lamar Neagle at the goal line. Maund’s foot looked to have touched the ball, but Neagle went down and Salazar pointed to the spot.
Sounder midfielder Gonzalo Pineda went to his left to give Seattle a 1-0 lead.
"[The Sounders] were gifted some goals by Ricardo, no question about that," said center back Nat Borchers.
The penalty set the precedent for a second half which turned out to be much more difficult for RSL. Trailing for just the second time at halftime all year long, the Sounders ensured then-unbeaten RSL wouldn’t extend its streak to start 2014 to 13-consecutive outings.
Marco Pappa swerved a spectacular free kick over the RSL wall and into the near post, by the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Jeff Attinella in the 55th minute. Seven minutes later, Chad Barret ensured the rout was on when his right-footed floater over Attinella put the home side in control of the result.
Sounders forward Obafemi Martins put the cherry on top in the 90th minute. Substitute Kenny Cooper played a simple ball inside the box to the back post and Martins ran onto it. RSL coach Jeff Cassar said the side will discount the third and fourth goals due to pushing numbers forward in search of finding a way back into the match in front of 39,245 fans.
"We knew we were going to be exposed at the back," Cassar said, "but I thought the commitment level was there. I thought it was a very even match in the first half."
It was the second half and Pappa’s left-footed bender that put RSL on its heels, forcing the change to charge for goals. They never came, but the first loss of 2014 did.
"We just push forward together," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "I think we’ve all lost plenty of games in this league, so to be honest with you, I’m not really concerned."
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