Editor's note: Moving this to the front page because this is pretty significant news and there's no reason for me to repeat it. - Jeremiah
Real Salt Lake went down a man to a very questionable (in my opinion, bad) "intentional handball in the box" call by official Chris Penso. I believe that's something like 8 reds and 7 pks in only 13 matches for him. The red came pretty early in the first half and set the tone for the rest of the game. Give credit to the Caps for capitalizing...they hit the PK and then hit another later in the game on a much more legitimate handball in the box. Khalfan hit a pretty strike from the top of the box to put it away. 3-0 was the final tally as the 'Caps get it right at BC Place the second time around.
The loss leaves RSL 6 points behind the Sounders with only 2 games to make them up. IF...HUGE IF...the Sounders were to lose all 3 remaining games and RSL wins both remaining games, it would go to the tiebreakers. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head. Both teams won away by identical scores of 2-1. Next. The second is goal differential. With RSL losing by three goals tonight, the Sounders have the advantage here by a whopping ten goals! Let's be extreme now...let's assume that RSL wins out 2-0, 2-0 (against arch-rivals Colorado away and then Portland in Utah..no easy task) AND we'll assume that Seattle loses out 0-2, 0-2, 0-2 ...unlikely, but work with me here. that would erase the 10 goal differential and take us to tiebreak #3 - goals scored. Coming into tonight, the Soudners had a 7 goal advantage. The 3-0 result did not change that in any way. In the scenario spelled out above, RSL's two 2-0 wins still leave the Sounder with a 3 goal advantage.
Unless we utterly disintegrate on the pitch for three games in a row AND Real Salt Lake comes up with massively lopsided victories in their two tough remaining contests, Seattle Sounders FC will be no worse than 2nd in the West. If we put away Philly this weekend, the pressure is all on LA in their "away" derby with Chivas. They follow up with their final game away against Houston, who have everything on the line. These are not easy games. It would take some serious luck, but the Shield is not out of the question.
Go Sounders! It's been one hell of a ride..and I don't want it to end!