As a practical matter, the Sounders season didn’t end tonight. It ended in the 88th minute of a miserable game Saturday at Real Salt Lake. For 87 minutes things had been bad enough, and taking a two-goal deficit into Seattle tonight would have been challenging enough.
But then in the 88th minute, Ned Grabavoy beat the Seattle defense to a rebound and knocked it into the net. The scoreboard clicked to 3-0. The goal that eventually would end the Sounders season was scored. And goalkeeper Kasey Keller pitched himself a fit.
“There was a big reason for that,” Keller said tonight from the final losing locker room of his playing career. “Two-nil is such a tenuous scoreline in soccer. It gives you that little bit false sense of security. … So that’s why that third one was a monster, and it ended up being just that. But huge credit to the guys. We came in here and gave it everything we had. We sure as hell made it entertaining for everybody to watch, both here and on TV. Like I say, we just came up a little bit short, but like I said, it was an honor. The guys did tremendous and I’m proud of each one of them.
Even at that, Keller said he never felt the Sounders were doomed tonight until the final whistle ended it.
“No, not at all. We scored plenty of goals this year in games. I never thought at any time, as long as I knew we kept it tight, that we’d give ourselves a chance right down to the end. You’ve got to give them some credit. That clearance off the line from Jeff Parke off that corner was insane. You get one of those to fall. Fredy had a great chance that just skidded away from him right at the very beginning, and that could have been interesting. But nobody get they head down. We kept battling and battling and battling. Then we got the penalty and Lamar pops up – great pass from Fredy – and he knocks it in, and then you think, ‘All right. Game on.’ We battled. They really threw their body on the line, and like I say, we just came up that little bit short.”