Eylander's heroics in goal preserve draw for Sounders - Seattle PI

Sounders 0 Vancouver 0

By MATTHEW GASCHK
SPECIAL TO THE P-I

TUKWILA -- Chris Eylander was stopping everything that came his way. The Vancouver Whitecaps peppered the Sounders goalkeeper with 17 shots, but came up scoreless.

In stoppage time, he even had to dive to his line to knock away an errant pass that nearly put the Whitecaps on the board.

But the Sounders' scoring woes continued and they settled for a 0-0 draw with their rivals to the north in a driving rain at Starfire Sports Complex on Wednesday.

In the second half, defender Zach Scott got to a late ball to prevent a Vancouver attack, but he turned the ball back toward Eylander and it nearly crept inside the post. Eylander took a horizontal dive toward the post, slapping the ball out to preserve the shutout, his ninth of the year.

"At that point in the game nothing surprises me," Eylander said. "There were a lot of things going on in the defensive third, so that didn't surprise me too much. I just returned the favor for Zach saving me off the line in the first half for a ball that went over my head."

The scoreless tie was not without action.

In the 23rd minute, Vancouver got off a flurry in front of the net. Forward Kevin Forrest kicked the initial offering off the line, but Nick Addlery got his head on the ball to put it back on net. Eylander smothered the shot to end the barrage.

The 26th and 28th minutes saw more attempts by the Whitecaps, but Danny Jackson cleared the first with a header and the second, a chip shot, dropped just wide of the net.

In the 38th minute, Addlery got out behind the Sounders defense, but misplayed the ball and his shot was nabbed by Eylander to preserve the scoreless first half.

The Sounders has their opportunities, but never really threatened Whitecaps goalkeeper Jay Nolly.

"I'm getting concerned about the play of the forwards in the attacking third," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. "(Eylander) without question kept us in the game. He had seven saves and all of them were good ones."

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