SANDY, UT - JULY 4: Luis Gil #21 of Real Salt Lake and Fredy Montero #17 of the Seattle Sounders chase the ball down during the first half of an MLS soccer game July 4, 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
The Seattle Sounders winless streak has now reached nine games, but a scoreless draw at Rio Tinto brought with it some very encouraging signs.
Within the context of a now nine-game winless streak, a draw is not the most encouraging result. But coming as it did at Rio Tinto Stadium, tonight's 0-0 against a struggling but very good Real Salt Lake side it should be taken as a positive, and significantly improved play in many facets of the game should offer some encouragement. After being thoroughly dominated for the better part of the first hour, the Sounders mounted a late charge and very nearly snagged all three points thanks to some late chances, but unlucky bounces and tired legs ensured that the game remained scoreless until the end.
While the Sounders are still quite clearly not back to their best form, strong showings from Mauro Rosales, Alvaro Fernandez, and the entire defense are very legitimate reasons for optimism. While Real Salt Lake spent the majority of the first half in control of the flow of the game, Seattle weathered the storm quite well and were able to assert themselves on the game later on when the game began to open up. It was night-and-day in terms of the performance of the defense, who looked to be much closer to their early-season form than they have appeared of late.
The short turnaround theme now continues, with the Sounders hosting the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at CenturyLink Field. If Seattle can build on this strong performance and finally put an end to this winless streak, the mood will almost certainly improve; whether they are able to do so is most certainly the million-dollar question.