The first leg of MLS playoffs always tends to be a tense venture and last night’s match up between Seattle and Salt Lake was no exception. Both teams displayed expert defensive prowess and as a result the match ended in a 0-0 draw. But the game was by no means void of action.
The action got off to a fast start in the 23rd minute as Nate Grabavoy dashed towards the top of Seattle’s eighteen yard box where he met an onrushing Michael Gspurning who made a spectacular sliding save. Both keepers were kept busy as the Sounders peppered Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando with shot after shot. Rimando finished the match with one of the most sound performances by a keeper in MLS this season, and Gspurning matched him save for save.
Offensively both teams were more than present. Seattle and Salt Lake each tallied shots into the double digits. In the 33rd minute Sammy Ochoa and Jon Kennedy Hurtado nearly broke through for the Sounders as both snapped headers onto Real’s goal frame off of a corner, but both efforts were thwarted by Rimando. Christian Tiffert also nearly headed in a goal in the 51st minute but was also denied.
Everything now hangs in the balance as Seattle travels to Salt Lake City for the second leg which will be played on Thursday. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is confident as he was pleased with Seattle’s effort in the first leg saying, “now we just have to go to Salt Lake and do well.”