VANCOUVER, BC – The Sounders FC had the best record in the 2011 MLS Reserve Division. It looked as though 2012 would start the same way as the Sounders took a 1-0 lead in stoppage time against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the first reserve game of the year for both sides at the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Stadium.
But a stoppage time header from Vancouver’s Carlyle Mitchell wiped out those thoughts and Seattle settled for the 1-1 draw.
“I thought we played well until the last 30 seconds of the game,” said Sounders FC assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson, who handles coaching duties for the reserve league. “We didn’t take care of the lead and we gave up some balls that we should have kept and we got punished.”
The Sounders controlled most of the play in the first half and had their best chance when Andy Rose slid in on a ball across the goal mouth by Alex Caskey in the 37th minute, but the ball barely eluded him and the teams went into halftime scoreless.
Vancouver started the second half in control, but the Sounders quickly regained their composure and took the game back.
Then in the 72nd minute, Caskey gave the Sounders the lead. Sounders FC U18 forward Dominique Dismuke got the ball to Leo Gonzalez overlapping into the box. The Vancouver defense clamped down on Gonzalez, but the ball fell to Caskey, who knocked in a thunderous shot to put Seattle up 1-0.
Seattle held that lead until the closing moments of the match, even holding off a pair of good efforts from Vancouver.
Then in stoppage time, Mitchell got on the end of a cross from Omar Salgado and hammered the header for the equalizer. Salgado retrieved a ball that was headed clear by Jeff Parke, then chipped a left-footed cross in from the left side, finding Mitchell streaking to the middle of the box, heading it back into the top left corner.
“Hopefully the guys can learn from this that you don’t ever let your foot off the gas,” Hendrickson said. “We didn’t make use of our chances and we ended up with a 1-1 game that quite easily could have been three points for us.”
Sounders FC – Alex Caskey 72.
Whitecaps FC – Carlyle Mitchell (Omar Salgado) 91+.
Sounders FC – Daniel Steres (caution) 36; Leo Gonzalez (caution) 69.
Whitecaps FC – None.
Sounders FC – Bryan Meredith, Ian Lange, Daniel Steres, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Michael Seamon (Dominique Dismuke 70), Andy Rose, Servando Carrasco, Christian Sivebaek, Sammy Ochoa, Alex Caskey (Sean Morris 74).
Whitecaps FC – Brad Knighton, Greg Klazura, Michael Boxall, Carlyle Mitchell, Jordan Harvey (Sam Adekugbe 46), Ben Fisk, Floyd Franks (Ben McKendry 53), Gershon Koffie, Kassin Essa (Carlos Marques 72), Omar Salgado, Long Tan.