Sounders FC fans may not see goals like the two Seattle scored in the first half again this season.
If they have their way, they’ll never see one like the one that equalized for DC United in the 87th minute again, but an own goal evened the score and it ended in a 3-3 draw in front of 29,104 at Qwest Field Wednesday night.
“It doesn’t feel good. This is a game that we should have won tonight and we should have won it going away,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s very deflating when a team comes back and ties you like that, but on the positive side of the equation, we’re creating opportunities.”
Osvaldo Alonso scored a cracker of a goal in the first half and Nate Jaqua knocked an obscure, twisting shot that DC United defender Marc Burch chipped in for an own goal to give Seattle a 2-1 lead before the halftime whistle. But Tyrone Marshall’s own goal in the 87th minute evened the tally at 3-3 and Seattle had to settle for a draw after holding a 3-1 lead into the final half-hour.
“It came so fast that there was no reaction to get out of the way. It just hit and went in,” Marshall said. “It’s one of those plays that you wish you could have back, but it happened so we have to move on.”
Although DC took the 1-0 lead in the 34th minute when rookie midfielder Chris Pontius scored his fourth goal of the season, getting his foot on a cross from Santino Quaranta.
Alonso then evened the score with his first goal of the season on a blistering shot from 30 yards out that bent it’s way into the right corner of the net over the outstretched hand of United goalkeeper Josh Wicks who faced nine shots in the first half and 17 in the game, making seven saves.
Then Jaqua spun the Sounders into the lead, taking a ball from Fredy Montero and twisting to fend off a defender before sending in a left-footed effort that bounced down off of Burch and spilled into the net for a 2-1 Seattle lead.
They carried that momentum into the second half and Montero notched his team-leading sixth goal of the season. Montero got some open space at the top of the DC box, juked Burch to one side, then flinged a left-footed shot inside the far post for a 3-1 lead.
Seattle continued to hold possession and create chances, even after Christian Gomez scored his third goal of the year to narrow the lead to 3-2. But then Pontius got free up the left side in the 87th minute, sent in a cross and sealed the draw with Marshall’s own goal.
“Pontius hit a good cross, but at that particular time we need to be as close as we can and we can probably do a better job with the runners,” Marshall said. “But in the run of play, things happen. It missed him and hit my head and went in.”
A heated Kasey Keller blamed a lack of discipline down the stretch for the unsightly result.
“The game’s pretty simple, but unfortunately we want to make it extremely complicated,” Keller said. “Mistakes are going to happen and that’s all part of the game, but it’s the little things that you have to keep doing every time. Unfortunately we’re switching off at times and it’s killing us right now.”
Added Schmid, “The problem with the two of the three goals is that we’re too far off guys as they’re sending in crosses. If guys have ten yards of room and can hit naked crosses with us not impacting the cross, if they’re a good player they are going to be able to pick out targets.”
The draw moved the Sounders to 5-3-6 (21 points) on the season for third in the Western Conference. DC United is now 5-2-8 (23 points) and sit atop the East.
“It’s annoying and you get a bit angry about it,” Ljungberg said. “Three-one, the game should be over and we controlled it quite well, but the goals we concede are mistakes and it’s icing on the cake that it’s an own goal in the 87th minute. It’s hard, but that’s soccer. It’s not always fair.”
“We scored three goals at home – we could’ve scored ten – and we throw a game away in the 87th minute when we should have, quite comfortably, won this 4-1,” Keller said. “We should have been disciplined enough to hit them on a counter and get the fourth one instead of throwing two goals away. Simple as that.”
Seattle flies out early Thursday morning to face the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. The game is scheduled for a 4:30 kickoff on KONG television.