The Seattle Sounders drew the LA Galaxy 1-1 on Monday night in their final home match of the regular season. The result moves them temporarily into first place in the Western Conference on 59 points, with Sporting Kansas City one point back with a match in hand on Wednesday.
The Galaxy opened the scoring in the 19th minute when Javier “Chicharito” Hernández scored on a deflection off a corner right in front of Stefan Frei.
Raúl Ruidíaz had a penalty shout in the 34th minute when he made contact with LA goalkeeper Jonathan Bond, but no foul was given.
The Galaxy nearly doubled their lead in the third minute of first-half stoppage time when Frei made a diving stop to his right to deny a Sebastian Lletget shot.
LA almost doubled its lead again two minutes after halftime when Frei came up huge once more and denied a goal from a few yards out.
The Sounders found their equalizer in the 51st minute when Ruidíaz converted a cheeky Panenka penalty after Cristian Roldan was taken down in the box by former Sounders defender Oniel Fisher.
Jordan Morris made his long-awaited debut on the hour mark, his first action since suffering an ACL injury in February. He came on for Ruidíaz, who himself was starting his first game since suffering a hamstring injury while away with Peru on international duty.
Roldan thought he had given the Sounders the lead in the 68th minute when he ripped a shot from distance, but it rattled off the post, off the back of Bond and out for a corner.
The Sounders came painstakingly close to finding a late winner in the second minute of second-half stoppage time when Xavier Arreaga’s thunderous header was saved by Bond and off the crossbar and out.
It was an emotional evening for Morris, who finally returned to the pitch after suffering his second ACL injury of his career. He went the final half hour and showed glimpses of the talent and pace he provides that will be crucial for Seattle heading into the postseason.
Ruidíaz Golden Boot hunt
Ruidíaz’s goal was his 17th of the season, which is one behind New York City FC’s Taty Castellanos for the MLS Golden Boot lead. Ruidíaz also tied Obafemi Martins (2014) for the most club goals in a single season.
Decision Day looms
The Sounders will head to British Columbia to take on Cascadia rival the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday in the final match of the regular season (3 p.m. PT; FOX 13+, KUNS, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM). The ‘Caps will be a desperate side looking to punch their ticket to the postseason, while the Sounders will try and potentially lock in the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.