SANTA CLARA - The Sounders accomplished two of their objectives in their match with the San Jose Earthquakes at Santa Clara University’s Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday. They put the ball in the back of the net twice and stopped 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski.
However, San Jose bounced back off the mat twice when Seattle took the lead and the Sounders finished with their second straight draw, 2-2.
Brad Evans scored his first goal of the season and O’Brian White added his first as a Sounder to propel Seattle to a 2-1 first-half lead. But a goal off a rocket from second-half substitute Khari Stephenson evened things up and left the Sounders with one point from the road draw.
“We scored some goals tonight, so that was a good situation, but I think we let ourselves down a little bit defensively,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We needed to do a better job of keeping the ball.”
Evans got Seattle out to the lead in the 17th minute off a ball from Mauro Rosales, who was making his first start as a Sounder in place of the injured Fredy Montero.
Rosales was a pest to the Earthquakes defense in the earlygoing, keeping the back four on their toes throughout the opening half. Erik Friberg played the ball to Rosales, who took it to the endline, then cut it to Evans on a late run into the box and the midfielder slammed it into the net for the 1-0 lead.
“That’s what Brad Evans does,” Schmid said. “We said to be aggressive in the box and be the first to the ball and take some risks. That’s what Brad did and he got a goal.”
Kasey Keller finished the night with two saves, including one on a blistering shot from Wondolowski in the ninth minute, but he couldn’t keep Simon Dawkins from scoring his first MLS goal in the 32nd minute to tie it up.
Ryan Johnson played Dawkins into the box on the left side and the Tottenham Hotspur loanee sent a left-footed shot inside the far post to make it 1-1.
Just ten minutes later, the Sounders regained the lead when Steve Zakuani chopped over the ball, then sent a pinpoint cross to the far post where White dove to head the ball past Jon Busch for a 2-1 lead in the 42nd minute.
In the second half, much of the momentum was slowed and San Jose took advantage in the 52nd minute when Stephenson found some space and blistered a shot from distance that found its way into the top right corner of the net for the 2-2 equalizer.
“When you’re on the road and you take the lead twice, you probably expect to win the game, but it wasn’t to be,” Zakuani said. “But it’s tough to be too disappointed when you know you’ve come to San Jose - a team who had a big win last weekend - and for the majority outplayed them and create some really good chances on their pitch.”
Montero missed the match after undergoing wrist surgery on Thursday. He will be evaluated next week and Schmid hopes to have him available when the Sounders host the Chicago Fire next Saturday.
Friberg was replaced in the second half by Alvaro Fernandez when Friberg was showing ill effects of a flu he has been battling.
Sounders FC - Brad Evans (Mauro Rosales, Erik Friberg) 17; O’Brian White (Steve Zakuani, Osvaldo Alonso) 42.
Earthquakes - Simon Dawkins (Ryan Johnson, Bobby Convey) 32; Khari Stephenson 52.
Sounders FC - Nate Jaqua (caution) 71; Leo Gonzalez (caution) 80.
Earthquakes - Chris Leitch (caution) 6.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Erik Friberg (Alvaro Fernandez 46), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani, Mauro Rosales (David Estrada 83), O’Brian White (Nate Jaqua 66).
Earthquakes - Jon Busch, Chris Leitch (Ike Opara 70), Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Ramiro Corrales, Sam Cronin, Simon Dawkins (Scott Sealy 85), Chris Wondolowski, Joey Gerstein (Khari Stephenson 46), Ryan Johnson, Bobby Convey.