By Money Mike
In 2011 the Sounders had the best road record in MLS. In the first road match of the season, it was an evenly played game on both sides from start to finish and in the end the Sounders came close to stealing all three points in the final second of the match, but sometimes close isn't good enough as this match ended in a goalless draw. The Sounders are now 2-1-1 on the year with still a couple games in hand with the Western Conference in this young season. The team looked better than last week with the return of a couple of key players, however they were still without Adam Johansson, Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani. Johansson and Rosales are expected to return to the lineup next week when the Sounders return home to face Colorado while Zakuani is expected to return within a month or two.
The Sounders didn't really test D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis until the 22nd minute when Fredy Montero gave it a go from about 19-yards out, but it was right into the arms of Willis. Montero has still yet to score this first goal of the season, but he's looked more lively these last couple of games and will surely break through soon.
A minute later, Seattle nearly found themselves a goal behind. Nick DeLeon made a nice cut toward the endline and sent in a low driven ball to the near post for Hamdi Salihi who had Michael Gspurning beaten, but the crossbar denied D.C. the lead and Salihi's first D.C. goal.
In the 34th minute, Seattle had probably the best chance of the match. Alvaro Fernandez took the corner which was headed out. Ozzie Alonso stepped up and volleyed it back into the area which found the head of Fredy Montero who was onside, but his header just missed wide of the far post. It didn't look like Fredy was expecting it at all.
Eddie Johnson came on in the 66th minute of the match for his MLS debut for the Rave Green and nearly made an impact. Zach Scott sent in a good cross for Johnson who got up high, but couldn't direct it on target.
With just over 15 minutes to go, D.C. came close to breaking the deadlock. Chris Pontius, who scored twice against us in one of our home matches in 2010 (not three), got around Zach Scott and worked a give and go with Maicon Santos before missing the far corner. Nick DeLeon tried to follow up, but the ball rolled out of play.
Five minutes later, Seattle failed to clear and the ball fell through to Maicon Santos who couldn't get a clear shot on target and was easily saved by Michael Gspurning. Gspurning had a great night in goal for the Sounders especially on set pieces and long throw-in's on his way to his second clean sheet of the season.
In the final minute of stoppage time, Seattle came so close to snatching a late goal. Just seconds after coming on against his old club. Marc Burch followed up on a long range effort from Ozzie Alonso, but he was denied by the crossbar.
Neither team played like they deserved to win. Some key players like David Estrada were kept in check. Alvaro Fernandez didn't do much either. As a matter of fact, I think he had a somewhat disappointing night. Especially that one opportunity that was goal bound. A centering pass for David Estrada was an awful one and we've rarely seen that from Fernandez in the early stages of the season. Again, Seattle was still missing some key figures like Mauro Rosales. But they did get Eddie Johnson back after he missed the first three matches of the season due a hip flexor injury he suffered in the Champions League Quarterfinal against Santos Laguna.
Dwayne De Rosario has been kept quiet all night which is something you rarely see out of him, but the backline of Seattle stood tall and shut down D.C. United's attack force. Salihi still has yet to score his first MLS goal, Maicon Santos couldn't add to his two goals he scored against FC Dallas and both Danny Cruz and Nick DeLeon didn't really do much on the wing for United.
The fact that we were missing Mauro Rosales and Adam Johansson, I think to head to D.C. and get a draw was a pretty good result for this team. It just shows that the Sounders will never back down and once their key players return, this will be a dangerous Sounders team in 2012.
D.C. United - Maicon Santos (caution; foul) 12'
D.C. United - Dejan Jakovic (caution; foul) 30'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez; Roger Levesque, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Marc Burch 92'+); David Estrada (Eddie Johnson 66'), Fredy Montero
D.C. United - Joe Willis; Robbie Russell (Chris Korb 74'), Dejan Jakovic, Emiliano Dudar, Daniel Woolard; Danny Cruz (Chris Pontius 59'), Perry Kitchen, Dwayne De Rosario, Nick DeLeon; Hamdi Salihi (Branko Boskovic 72'), Maicon Santos