Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller was credited with four saves Saturday in Seattle's 2-1 win over Chicago.
But it was the quality, not the quantity, that stood out.
“That was world class,” coach Sigi Schmid said of his 41-year-old keeper from Olympia. “That was Kasey Keller from his prime. As you finish out a career, to be able to manage and put out performances like that is a tremendous tribute to the work that he does on a daily basis. Those three saves were big time.”
The saves Schmid mentioned were clustered in a seven-minute stretch of the second half, while Seattle protected its one-goal lead.
In the 59th minute, Keller hit the turf to stop a Diego Chaves rebound from a free kick. Two minutes later, Keller kicked away a one-on-one attempt by Gaston Puerari. And five minutes later, Keller sprawled again to knock away a shot by Marco Pappa, who had gotten past defender Jeff Parke.
“They had some good chances, but that’s Kasey Keller,” Seattle midfielder Steve Zakuani said. “I’m not going to say anything new that you haven’t heard before. He’s a great goalkeeper, and there’s a time when he’s called upon that you need to depend on him, and we did that today. So good play, Kasey.”
After the game, Keller wasn’t interested in compliments or rating the quality of his saves.
What mattered, he said, was that they contributed to an important win – Seattle’s first of the season.
“The last game (at San Jose) was a little frustrating because I was able to make a couple of saves in the first half, and then they got that goal and we drew 2-2,” he said.
“So, it was nice to be able to finish it off this week and come up with the saves. It’s just a shame we weren’t able to get that third goal just to ice this thing. Three points was desperately needed. Everybody is leaving now with a nice weekend, and hopefully it’s just the springboard for many more to come.”
Saturday also marked Jhon Kennedy Hurtado’s return to Seattle’s starting lineup alongside Parke after two games on the bench behind Patrick Ianni.
“Coming off his (knee) injury and getting back into the flow, I think he needed to get away from the week-to-week a little bit and catch his breath,” Schmid said. “My goal always was to put J.K. back in. We thought today, defensively, he’s one of the ones that’s pretty good and their guys are pretty good one-on-one forwards, so we looked at last week’s game and made a decision between Parke and Ianni .”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer