Punchless Sounders lose, 1-0

SEATTLE – Sounders FC’s offensive troubles reappeared Thursday in a 1-0 loss to New England before a crowd of 32,705 at Qwest Field.

It was the fourth time in the past five league games that Seattle has failed to score.

“Every time we play at home, we want to win,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “For the most part, I thought we carried the game, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to score goals.”

The Revolution and Sounders each started with aimless offenses and lots of high 50-50 balls volleyed about.

However, New England got the only goal it would need in the 21st minute when 6-foot-3 Shalrie Joseph muscled past 5-8 Peter Vagenas in the penalty area and fired at close range past goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

The goal seemed to awaken the Sounders, who quickly created a series of chances for Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua and Patrick Ianni. Another came when Steve Zakuani sent a sizzler at the goal, only to smack Montero in the face, knocking him down and the shot out of harm’s way.

The best chance came just before halftime, when Montero was knocked down in the area, drawing a penalty kick. However, Montero’s free shot whacked off the crossbar, coming down just outside the goal line.

Schmid said later that another player had been assigned to take the PK but deferred to Montero.

The loss kept Seattle (8-6-8, 32 points) in third place in the MLS West. The Sounders play at conference-leading Houston on Sunday.