Seattle, Toronto draw in exciting scoreless matchBy nschiffler • Aug 30th, 2009 • Category: Match Reports
Perhaps it was fitting that Seattle and Toronto FC tied on Saturday afternoon at Qwest field in a game that was a must-win for both clubs.
It was an especially frustrating result for the home side, with a 0-0 draw at the final whistle. Worse yet for the Sounders is that Freddy Ljungberg picked up yet another yellow card for dissent, and will miss the next match. All of this will put Seattle in an even more precarious position in terms of making the playoffs.
The men in rave green will feel disappointed to wind up with a draw in one of their few home games left, but also relieved to get the single point. Toronto were the better team in the first half, sometimes overwhelmingly so. It wasn’t until the second half that Seattle began creating dangerous chances and controlling the run of play.
But it all started off terrible wrong for the Sounders, as Toronto had a golden chance inside three minutes. Star forward Dwayne De Rosario eluded a flailing Kasey Keller, but missed the open net from only a somewhat difficult angle. Five minutes later De Rosario had a fairly free header but nodded wide.
Toronto were completely dominating possession, and as if life couldn’t get worse for Seattle, starting defender Tyrone Marshall was forced off after 19 minutes due to a knee injury.
The Canadian side kept on attacking at will, and had the best chance at a goal all game four minutes later. Amado Guevara hit a vicious curling shot from outside the 18-yard box, but it clanged mercifully off the crossbar.
While Seattle began controlling the ball more after half an hour of being dominated, it was Toronto again that nearly scored, but in the 36th minute De Rosario skidded his shot just wide of the post with Keller rushing at him. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado then headed a free kick just wide. Still, the half had completely belonged to TFC.
Eventually in the second half, Seattle would begin forcing themselves back into the game. Good interplay between Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani set up Osvaldo Alonso for a shot, but it was well saved. Just after, in the 63rd minute, Ljungberg got free on a breakaway but his strike was palmed over the bar by Stefan Frei. The Swede got another chance moments later but missed just wide from long range.
Soon, though, Ljungberg again let his emotions get the better of him. What began as an altercation between Hurtado and De Rosario in the 70th minute turned into a bit of a scrum. However, Ljungberg felt compelled to speak his mind to the referee, and was rewarded with an unnecessary yellow card. It took both Hurtado and Patrick Ianni physically restraining Ljungberg to prevent him from likely getting sent off.
Despite the fracas, the Sounders kept attacking. Alonso missed high with a flamboyant attempt at a bicycle kick. Then substitute Sebastien Le Toux was free on a breakaway around the 75th minute, but inexplicably crossed when he had an open shot and the ball was cleared.
In stoppage time, Le Toux was again played through into the box, but with only the keeper to beat he rolled the ball tamely into Frei’s grateful gloves. Then just before the final whistle, Alonso rounded one defender and had a chance from just a few yards out – but at an extremely difficult angle, which Frei was able to cover and save. There would be no goals on the afternoon, no clear winner, and no boost for Seattle’s suddenly dwindling postseason chances.
Sounders player ratings
Kasey Keller – 5.5
Yes, he had a clean sheet, but he only had one save to make, some of his distribution was bad, and he was beaten several times in the first half. Lucky not to give up a goal.
Leo Gonzalez – 5
The speed of Marvell Wynne gave him a little trouble. No major breakdowns, but gave up a lot of space, especially early on.
Tyrone Marshall – 4.5
Came off early due to injury, but during the 15-odd minutes he was playing, Seattle’s defense was a total mess.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado – 7
Probably Seattle’s man of the match by default. Bailed out the defense on several occasions and came very close to scoring.
James Riley – 6
Reasonably solid in defense and actually combined well with Zakuani on a couple occasions. Look for them to do that more. In coming matches – and even next year – that could be a real strength for Seattle.
Freddy Ljungberg – 6.5
I’m not going to take away points for his yellow card. He was probably Seattle’s most dangerous attacker. On the other hand, he needs to learn to shut his big fat Swedish mouth.
Brad Evans – 5
Almost anonymous. Most of the game, whether by design or accident, he was dropping extremely deep, almost in a second holding midfield position alongside Alonso. For the first 30 minutes, it seemed like Toronto exploited this and dominated the midfield possession. Evans has got to do better.
Osvaldo Alonso – 6
Not his best game defensively as an enforcer. De Rosario had his number. He did, however, create a few good chances on offense and had at least three very good looks on goal.
Steve Zakuani – 5.5
Was quiet much of his time on the pitch, but did link with Riley well and showed a bit more variety in his attacking moves.
Nate Jaqua – 5.5
Worked hard, won some headers, and didn’t get anything to show for it.
Fredy Montero – 5
Worked hard, didn’t win any headers, and didn’t get anything to show for it.
(Sub) Patrick Ianni – 6
Forced into action early on for Marshall, he didn’t look out of rhythm when he came in and actually solidified the defense a bit. Credit to him for keeping Ljungberg under (relative) control during the 71st minute altercation.
(Sub) Pete Vagenas – 4
Why would you ever bring in Vagenas on purpose in a game where you need a goal? I don’t think he played one useful ball forward in his entire 30 minutes on the field.
(Sub) Sebastien Le Toux – 5.5
He was dynamic in sparking the Sounders attack once he came off the bench, but absolutely wasteful when he got near the goal.