Sounders still looking for 1st MLS win after draw

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SEATTLE — Lamar Neagle slumped into a solemn crouch after the final whistle.

A collective groan from 38,323 fans, or at least those who were left at the end, filled CenturyLink Field.

Sounders FC had just gone another game without a win, settling for a scoreless tie at home Saturday against the New England Revolution despite controlling most of the game.

Coach Sigi Schmid’s guarantee of a win went unfulfilled, and a woeful start to the MLS season continued.

“I was hoping that this was going to be one of those games to get us started,” said Neagle, a Federal Way native. “It’s very frustrating when we’re in front of their goal for half the game and can’t put it in the back of the net.”

The Sounders (0-3-2) are still the only winless team in MLS, still sit alone in dead last in the Western Conference and are still off to the worst start in franchise history.

Significant advantages in shots (13-5), crosses from open play (22-12) and possession (68.5 percent) meant little. Finishing was the main problem, and a predictable one with forwards Eddie Johnson (hamstring), Obafemi Martins (knee) and David Estrada (eye) out injured.

In the end, much attention came back on Schmid’s guarantee.

“Apparently, (New England coach) Jay Heaps thought I was taking a shot at his team,” Schmid said. “I’m not worried about his team. I could (not) care less what they’re all about.

“What I’m worried about is my team. It was about showing them that I’m behind them and that I believe in them. We talked about starting it off today: ‘Today is the day we start it.’ Well, we sort of started it with a tie, but we need to start it with a win.”

New England (1-2-2) hasn’t won, or even scored, since opening day.

The Sounders had a couple late scoring chances through Neagle, but most of the better looks came in the first half, which Seattle dominated with an 8-1 shot advantage.

Forward Steve Zakuani had the first great opportunity in the 14th minute, when he was set up well by Neagle in front of goal, but the shot was blocked away for a corner kick. A minute later, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso fired a perfectly struck volley from 20 yards out, but it was tipped ever so slightly over the goal by goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.

Zakuani had another great chance on a 44th-minute breakaway, but once again Shuttleworth made the stop. Then, Zakuani’s left-footed blast went inches wide in the 55th minute.

“I just can’t buy one at the moment,” said Zakuani, who had also lamented several misses in Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League game.

As a lone bright spot, Seattle recorded the season’s first shutout, though it wasn’t much consolation.

“I haven’t cared, to be honest, that I didn’t have a shutout before the game and I don’t care to have a shutout now, because we are all disappointed as a team,” said goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. “If one or two statistics are in our favor, we can’t buy anything from that. A win, by far, would be better.”

NOTES

• Sounders FC next plays at Colorado on Saturday. .

• Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe, a Federal Way native, played all 90 minutes for the visitors.

• Danish forward Philip Lund made his Sounders debut as a 74th-minute substitute. “It’s a good step for me, but now I have to focus on having good training sessions,” he said.

• U.S. men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann was at the game and said during a halftime interview that the federation has continuing interest in Alonso. The Seattle midfielder, who earned U.S. citizenship last year, is a Cuban defector, and the Cuban federation has been unresponsive in the issue, Klinsmann said.

• There was a moment of silence before the game for the passing of local coaching legends Marv Harshman and Frosty Westering.

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