SEATTLE - The Sounders FC has seen this movie three times already this season.
In their third match of the season, Seattle again controlled much of the game, yet still had a combination of misfortune and great goalkeeping that kept them from piling goals on the scoreboard.
The Sounders continued to dominate the shot column, out-shooting the Houston Dynamo 26-6 Friday night at Qwest Field. However, Tally Hall came up with seven saves and Seattle had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
“I think we deserved more tonight than a tie,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I’m very proud of the team. I’m very proud of the effort they put in. Right now we can’t get anything to break our way sometimes. So I’m happy that we fought back and got the equalizer. Like I said, we deserved more on the day.”
Steve Zakuani scored Seattle’s first goal of the year in the 80th minute, connecting on the back post off a corner kick and evening the score after Houston got the fortunate bounce off a redirected shot in the first half.
The Sounders got three shots within the first ten minutes to set the tone for a busy night for the Houston defense.
O’Brian White was stirring the Houston defense with his rapid runs in and around the box. Fredy Montero was a constant threat with the ball at his feet. Erik Friberg and Osvaldo Alonso were creating chances with their defense and quick pushes of the ball forward. Zakuani’s quickness gave fits to his former Akron Zip teammate Kofi Sarkodie. Brad Evans proved an important piece to the attack in his 2011 debut.
Even defender Jeff Parke nearly found the net with a header that hit the crossbar in the 29th minute in the middle of a flurry in front of the Houston goal.
Yet it was the Dynamo that would find the net first when Lovel Palmer smacked a long-distance shot off the crossbar and Geoff Cameron put the rebound into the mixer and it found its way into the net for a 1-0 lead in the 42nd minute.
Neither the 1-0 halftime deficit nor the 15-5 advantage Seattle held in shots could deter the Sounders in the second half, though.
“Guys were very passionate … positive,” Zakuani said of the locker room at halftime, admitting that he kicked a chair in the intermission. “We were frustrated. We had chance after chance and the ball just won’t go in. But we regrouped and came back in the second half and picked up where we left off.”
That passion got an opportunity to break Seattle’s way in the second half. Friberg swung a free kick into the box from the right side, finding Zach Scott at the near post with a header that was on its way outside the far post, but Zakuani was there to touch it into the open net for the goal in the 80th minute.
“It wasn’t the prettiest goal, but they all count the same,” Zakuani said. “We have that monkey off our back, now we have to keep playing how we’re playing.”
Seattle continued to apply pressure to Houston wherever the ball was on the field and they got four more shots in the final ten minutes, but only one challenged Hall, who stopped a Montero shot to preserve the draw.
“We definitely wanted more. I think we played well and we definitely did enough to win the game. We just have to finish those chances,” said forward Nate Jaqua, who played the final 29 minutes of the match to make his 2011 debut. “We’re playing some good soccer. If we play like that, things are going to go in and we’re going to win games.”
Their next opportunity comes on April 2 in a road match with the San Jose Earthquakes. The draw gives Seattle their first point of the season at 0-2-1. Houston is now 0-1-1.
Sounders FC - Steve Zakuani 80.
Dynamo - Geoff Cameron 42.
Sounders FC - Patrick Ianni (caution) 43; Leo Gonzalez (caution) 73.
Dynamo - Hunter Freeman (caution) 2; Lovel Palmer (caution) 30; Geoff Cameron (caution) 46.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Mauro Rosales 71), Steve Zakuani, O’Brian White (Nate Jaqua 61), Fredy Montero.
Dynamo - Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Hunter Freeman, Corey Ashe (Danny Cruz 85), Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis, Will Bruin (Brian Ching 75), Jason Garey (Cam Weaver 46).