Shipp’s first-half goal enough as Sounders beat RSL, 1-0
SEATTLE (AP) — For Harry Shipp, it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy — at least not on the field.
Shipp scored on a hard shot that was deflected into the goal in the 42nd minute and the Seattle Sounders snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Real Salt Lake, 1-0 on Saturday.
The play that led to Shipp’s second goal of the season started with a corner kick from the right wing side by Nicolas Lodeiro. His drive into the penalty area was headed right back out to him, and he again sent it toward the goal. Sounders defender Gustav Svensson headed the ball out to the top of the box.
Shipp gained control 16 yards in front and fired toward the right post. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando dove in that direction, but the ball deflected off defender Reagan Dunk and into the far corner.
“I just wanted to keep it on frame, and I hit it exactly how I wanted,” said Shipp, in his first year with the Sounders after two seasons with Chicago and one with Montreal. “When it was first deflected, I was like, ’Oh no, here we go again. But it went in the back of the net, so I’ll take it.”
The Sounders (3-5-4) had dominated the first half, with nearly 75 percent of the possession, but were kept off the board with four saves by Rimando. He denied Jordan Morris twice, Lodeiro once, and Svensson once.
Rimando also stopped a Clint Dempsey penalty kick in the 55th minute.
On a team with scoring threats such as Dempsey, Morris, and Loderio, Shipp often found himself deferring to those talents. But the clear message he got from coach Brian Schmetzer was to take advantage of his own talent.
“I told him before the game — because he’s a really nice kid — I said, ‘Don’t be nice today. Take a few more risks, take a few more chances,’” Schmetzer said. “Not just on the goal, but a couple of other times, he was really engaged in the attack. If other guys start scoring, that makes it a little easier for our big three.”
Added Shipp, “I tried to make an effort to do that, and I think that’s something that’s going to be more conscious in my mind the rest of the year.”
Salt Lake (3-8-2) has lost four of its last five and has just one win in its last 12 road games. Of its eight losses, seven have been shutouts.
“We knew we weren’t going to have much of the ball in the first half and we were OK with that,” said coach Mike Petke, whose team found some spark and crated two dangerous chances after Rimando saved the PK. “I thought they did a fantastic job up until falling asleep on the goal.
“I thought they created a ton of stuff (in the second half) and it seemed like on some of those chances that a stiff wind would’ve blown one in,” he added. “But I told the guys after the game, and they understand and I think they agree, that this was not a loss tonight. We made so many strides in what we want to do and who we want to be in this one game alone.”
Some were saying that Saturday’s game had a must-win feel to it for the Sounders, given their early-season struggles. Schmetzer didn’t necessarily agree, but was undeniably relieved to get all three points.
“I think what you saw today was that hopefully, a 1-0 performance might not seem like such a massive step,” he said. “But deep down inside, I think they’re going to say, ‘Whew, we got this. Let’s try to build on this.’”