By MATT MASSEY
Special to The Seattle Times
TUKWILA — August is when the Seattle Sounders are supposed to get hot, just like the weather, for a United Soccer Leagues First Division playoff run.
Instead, like the cool August rain that fell Wednesday night, the four-time champion Sounders' playoff hopes trickled downward.
Failing to muster much offense, the Sounders' playoff chances took a small hit when they played the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 0-0 tie in front of 3,203 fans at Starfire Sports & Entertainment Complex.
The Sounders, most recently USL First Division champs in 2005 and 2007, dipped to 8-8-9 in league play with five regular-season matches left, all at home. With the tie, Seattle managed to move into sole possession of fourth place with 33 points in the race for a top-seven finish and playoff berth.
It was the second of three meetings against the Whitecaps this season. The Sounders beat the Whitecaps 2-0 in Burnaby, B.C., on May 23.
The traditional rivals finish their USL First Division regular-season schedule at Starfire on Sept. 20.
The top seven teams qualify for the playoffs, which begin Sept. 24-26. The regular-season champion of the league receives a bye into the semifinals.
The league-championship match is set for Oct. 1.
The Sounders made a huge defensive stand in the 23rd minute, turning back three Vancouver shots in succession. Zach Scott cleared a ball off the line and Chris Eylander hauled in a save on a shot by Nick Adderly to end the threat.
Eylander made a superb save in the 38th minute, coming out for a sliding block on a hard, low blast from 17 yards out by Adderly in a 3-on-1 situation.
The Sounders got few good chances in the first half as both teams put seven shots on goal.
Eylander continued to do good work in goal, saving two shots in the 84th minute before Randy Edwini-Bonsu shot over the cross bar from point-blank range.
Eylander finished with seven saves, including an added-time crash into the post to keep out a misplayed ball from teammate Scott.
• The Sounders were without starters Leighton O'Brien (broken arm), Josh Gardner (hamstring), Ciaran O'Brien (hamstring) and Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar (calf).
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