Seattle Sounders rue missed opportunities, late-game lapses in home draw with Orlando City SC

SEATTLE — Goalkeeper Stefan Frei did not mince words following the Seattle Sounders’ 1-1 home draw with Orlando City SC on Wednesday night.

“It is a loss,” Frei said. “It doesn’t feel like it, it is. We lost two points at home.”

Seattle was on the brink of its fourth consecutive 1-0 home shutout win, but a Scott Sutter headed goal on the final touch of the game in the 94th minute ruined an otherwise solid performance from the Rave Green. The goal also snapped the Sounders’ longest home shutout streak in franchise history. Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore scored on a penalty kick in the 23rd minute on May 6, a span of 427 minutes between concessions.

“The guys put too much into the game to allow a couple of silly lapses in concentration get us to that point,” said head coach Brian Schmetzer. “As a team, when you get down to that stage of the game, you need to get the ball down to the corners, keep possession in their half of the field, make sure you get everybody goalside, you keep everything in front of you if you’re defending. We couldn’t do that.”

The Sounders rued the chances they couldn’t capitalize on earlier in the match to give themselves some insurance late in the game. OCSC goalkeeper Joe Bendik played well and stepped up on multiple occasions to keep Seattle from finding a second tally.

“I thought we could have finished the game a little earlier, we didn’t need to leave it at 1-0,” said Schmetzer. “We had plenty of chances to make it two or three…At the end of the day, it’s just not good enough and we need to figure out a way how to close games like that out.”

Seattle is 4-1-3 at home so far, a mark upon which it will hope to improve during the second half of the season. The Sounders will play nine of its final 17 games at CenturyLink Field with ample opportunities to pick up valuable points.

Frei said that although the team is not where it wants to be in the standings at the season’s midway point, it is still right in the hunt for the playoffs. The Sounders are not in the deep hole they dug last year, but they know they’re not playing up to their potential. A positive result at Providence Park in Portland on Sunday should set the tone for the season’s second half.

“First and foremost, we have to take care of business at home,” Frei said. “But even if you do that, at some point you have to do something on the road. What better way to do it than to go down to Portland, which tends to be a good side at home. I’m sure they’re going to be up for it. We have to make sure we’re up for it.”

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