SANDY, Utah – Sounders FC’s pursuit of an MLS Cup started ominously with a nightmarish 3-0 road loss Saturday against Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals.
The two-game, aggregate-goals series will be settled Wednesday at CenturyLink Field. Seattle needs an almost impossible four-goal win to advance to the conference finals; a three-goal win after 90 minutes would send the game to extra time and then a penalty-kick shootout, if needed.
RSL forward Alvaro Saborio netted the first two goals, one in each half, and Ned Grabavoy added one late as the 2009 MLS Cup champions outclassed the visitors, ending a six-game winless streak in the process.
Saborio opened the scoring with a tap-in goal in the 41st minute and added a brilliant back-heel in the 53rd minute to help create the huge advantage.
The Costa Rican nearly capped a hat trick in the 71st minute, but whistled a shot just high. Grabavoy finished the job in the 88th minute in front of 17,067 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Seattle scrambled for a late consolation goal, but a lackluster offensive showing ended quietly. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was left with little to do for nearly all of the game.
The Sounders are 0-4-1 in playoffs games over three seasons, with just one goal scored in those 480 minutes. They’ve been outscored 7-1.