In a drab and all-around uninspiring affair, Chivas USA held the Sounders to a 0-0 draw at CenturyLink Field today with an Alvaro Fernandez penalty that hit both the post and the back of Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy's head the chance that Sounders fans will rue. The Goats' aims were clear; their goal was to keep a clean sheet, and to accomplish those aims they sat back and invited Seattle into their own final third with eyes towards the counter. In stark contrast to most games where the opponent has such aims, Chivas actually managed to dominate possession and while very little of it was dangerous (with the visitors managing just four shots on the day) their control of the run of play and a fantastic performance from the back line was enough the see them through.
The Sounders seemed to have very few ideas on the day, and though Chivas were unable to do much in the way of threatening the home side's goal they were quite clearly the better side. Seattle looked frustrated by the Goats' combination of physical (but clean) play and technical build-up and a clumsy but accidental hand ball in the box gave Seattle their only real chance of the game. A late onslaught produced some golden opportunities, but Seattle's inability to convert put the spotlight on their lack of an average or above goal scorer.
That issue will shift to the forefront over the next 28 hours as the closure of the MLS international transfer window will come at 9:00 PM tomorrow night. If the Sounders let the close of the window pass without making a signing they'll be limited to moves within MLS before the playoffs begin, greatly limiting their ability to bring in an impact player before the close of the season. The Sounders lack of a true quality striker(with Fredy Montero now firmly ensconced in the trequartista role) has suddenly become an even bigger problem with the news that O'Brian White has suffered a setback in his return from surgery to remove a blood clot from his knee. With White's imminent return the Sounders apparent Plan B in the event they are unable to bring in attacking talent before the close of the transfer window,
The Sounders roster construction problems aside, this was just a flat-out disappointing result and a flat-out disappointing performance. Seattle wasn't bad, per se, but there was quite clearly an edge missing that kept them from performing at their best. Chivas capitalized on that and put up one of the better performances by a visitor to CenturyLink all season. With the Supporters Shield seemingly out of reach, the Sounders will now look to salvage the best possible playoff position with nine regular season games remaining. In terms of results that weren't flat-out embarrassments, this was about as bad as they get.