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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sounders get draw in Nashville, fail to clinch playoff spot

By Jayda Evans Seattle Times

A sign the Sounders truly resuscitated their season was within grasp Saturday.

Win and the club would clinch a Major League Soccer playoff berth.

But the Sounders remained stuck. The team closed a three-game road stint with a goalless draw against Nashville SC at GEODIS Park in Nashville, Tennessee. Seattle is unbeaten in six matches and is second in the Western Conference standings.

Sounders forward Heber thought he had the goal to send the club to the postseason in the 58th minute. The strike off a half-turn in the box was disallowed after VAR showed Heber was offside.

Nashville also could’ve clinched in the Eastern Conference with a win. Reigning MVP Hany Mukhtar had an opportunity in the 66th minute that Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan stopped.

The match was destined to be a defensive showcase. Nashville leads MLS in fewest goals allowed at 28, and Seattle has only conceded 31 this season.

Seattle (12-9-10) settled into the match by the half-hour mark. The team had three good looks at goal in a 10-minute span. Defender Alex Roldan’s shot was right at the gut of Nashville keeper Joe Willis in the 33rd minute while Nico Lodeiro was inches wide of goal in the same minute. Midfielder Josh Atencio watched an impressive shot from deep also be saved by Willis in the 42nd minute.

The Sounders closed the half with one of their better defensive plays of the season. Nashville (12-9-9) had a numbers advantage on a counterattack with Mukhtar in control of the ball. He spotted Jacob Shaffelburg making a run toward the box for a possible easy goal, but Cristian Roldan kept pace to pressure Shaffelburg. Teammate Jackson Ragen hustled from box to box for the goal-saving tackle in the 45th minute as Shaffelburg tried to shake Cristian Roldan with his first touch.

Despite an extended layoff between matches, there was significant rotation from the Sounders’ starting lineup that defeated Colorado 2-1 on Sept. 20.

Striker Raul Ruidiaz returned from a minor hamstring injury but suffered a back injury during training in Nashville on Friday and was replaced by Heber. Jordan Morris is on paternity leave after his wife recently gave birth to their first child .

Sounders defender Nouhou served a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation and was replaced by Reed Baker-Whiting. Lodeiro slotted in for Albert Rusnak, who didn’t make the trip due to illness.

Seattle returns to host the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday.