Chivas USA 0, Sounders 0Sep 19, 2009 - 10:34 PM By MARK MOSCHETTI STATS MLS Correspondent
SEATTLE (STATS) - All year, Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton has had the Seattle Sounders' number.
Thornton made six saves - four of the point-blank variety - and shut out the Sounders for the third straight time, helping Chivas to a scoreless tie on the road Saturday afternoon.
"They're very tough to play against, especially here," said Thornton, whose save total exceeded the five he made in the previous two games combined against Seattle. "We've started to play well defensively, and we were fortunate to keep them off the board. They have five or six guys who are all good with the ball, and they all know what to do going forward.
"They're a handful."
Both teams earned a point to keep them in the playoff mix. Seattle is 9-6-11 with 38 points, while Chivas stayed one point behind at 11-9-4.
The Sounders went scoreless at home for the fourth straight game. Seattle has gone 404 minutes since its last home goal in a 2-1 victory against Houston on July 11.
"We had three or four great chances to score, and their goalkeeper made some amazing saves," midfielder Freddie Ljungberg said. "A lot of teams are coming here just to defend. When we create chances, we have to put them away. But they defended well, and that's all they were here to do."
Thornton beat the Sounders 2-0 and 1-0 earlier this season despite Seattle outshooting Chivas in each of those games. On Saturday, he had to work for this clean sheet as the Sounders outshot Chivas 12-4.
In the 15th minute, Thornton got his hand on a shot by Sebastien Le Toux from the top of the 6-yard box to deflect it wide of the far post. About five minutes after halftime, a header from the top of the 6-yard box by Steve Zakuani was on its way in until Thornton slapped it away.
Then in the 83rd minute, Fredy Montero had a one-on-one try against Thornton from the top left corner of the 6-yard box and Thornton came out and blocked the shot. Finally, he denied Nate Jaqua in front of the net during second-half stoppage time.
Thornton also got some help from an offside flag in the 68th minute after Zakuani threaded a perfect pass across the box to Montero for an easy tap-in that never made it onto the scoreboard.
"It was one of those games where you go, 'If we get one, we probably get three,'" Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. "They got back and got behind the ball and Zach had a good game for them. In the first half, we didn't go at their outside backs enough. But in the second half, once we went at their outside backs more, we created some more opportunities.
"For some reason at home right now, maybe there's some cellophane around the goal."
Kasey Keller had his ninth shutout of the season for the Sounders. He had to make one save on four shots.
Chivas finished the game with 10 men after Marcelo Saragosa was sent off late in the 71st minute for putting his cleats into the face of Montero as both went for a ball.
Story from: STATS LLC, http://www.stats.com.
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