SEATTLE - Over a span of five minutes, the Sounders FC ran the gambit of emotions.
Trailing 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the 80th minute, Seattle was desperate for a goal to equalize - losing to their rivals to the north was not an option.
In the 81st minute, Mauro Rosales equalized and the spirits of the Sounders and the vast majority of the 36,502 in attendance were ratcheted up.
When Osvaldo Alonso stole the ball at the top of the box and gave the Sounders the lead in the 84th minute, the volume reached deafening heights. Then, moments later, it all came crashing down as Eric Hassli cracked a whirling shot from the corner of the box that cleared the outstretched arm of Kasey Keller and snuck into the top corner of the net to equalize at 2-2 in the 85th minute.
“We battled and we fought. They didn’t quit,” defender James Riley said. “We’re sitting in our locker room like it’s a loss instead of a derby victory. It definitely stings to be up 2-1 and work that hard and press for the equalizer and go ahead. So, we’ll learn from it.”
In the first half, the two teams battled tooth and nail and the difference came on a questionable penalty call on one end and a non-call on the other.
In the 28th minute, Camilo got out on the run up the left side, turned into the box to go 1v1 with Riley, then cut back to the middle, falling into Alonso and twisting to the ground. Referee Mark Geiger pointed to the penalty spot and in the 29th minute, Hassli converted the PK for his fifth goal of the season, and third that had come from the penalty spot.
Just before halftime, Mike Fucito darted out behind the Vancouver defense after a ball from Rosales sprung him forward. He got into the box and lifted a shot past Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon while being shoved from behind by Alain Rochat. The shot went wide, but no penalty was given despite the pleas from Fucito and the Sounders FC bench.
So it was that Vancouver held a 1-0 lead as the minutes wound down.
Then in the 81st minute, Tyson Wahl crossed a left-footed ball into the box. Nate Jaqua leapt and attracted the attention of two Whitecaps defenders, but the ball skipped past for Rosales, charging to the back post for a one-touch goal to equalize at 1-1.
Seattle kept the pressure on while Vancouver tried to hold on for the draw and in the 84th minute, the Sounders pushed the ball into the attacking third. Jeb Brovsky picked off the ball and tried to pass to Peter Vagenas, but Alonso intercepted the effort, pushed around Brovsky to his left foot then pegged it past Cannon for his first goal of the season and a 2-1 lead.
The elation wouldn’t last though.
Off the kickoff, the Whitecaps played the ball into the corner where Jhon Kennedy Hurtado knocked it back to Alonso at the corner of the box. He lifted his head for only a moment and the ball skipped past him to Hassli. The French striker deflected the ball up, then hit a ranging half-volley from the corner of the box that pinged off the far post and into the net for his sixth goal of the season and second of the night.
“It took something special - something extremely special,” Keller said. “But unfortunately something that was very preventable and hopefully we learn.”
The draw moves the Sounders to 5-4-7 while Vancouver goes to 1-6-8, remaining winless in their last 14 matches. It was Seattle’s second home draw in the Cascadia Cup standings after a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers on May 14.
“Let’s not forget that 80 minutes into the game we’re down 1-0 and we come back and have a chance to win it,” Keller said. “That’s just frustrating that you do battle like hell to get back into the lead and then you concede so quickly after.”
The Sounders will take to the road to face Toronto FC next Saturday at BMO Field.
Sounders FC - Mauro Rosales 81; Osvaldo Alonso 84.
Whitecaps FC - Eric Hassli (PK) 29; Hassli 85.
Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 47+.
Whitecaps FC - Alain Rochat (caution) 46+; Camilo (caution) 55; Jonathan Leathers (caution) 71.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales (Erik Friberg 83), Lamar Neagle (Nate Jaqua 59), Mike Fucito (Miguel Montano 65), Fredy Montero.
Whitecaps FC - Joe Cannon, Alain Rochat, Mouloud Akloul, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Leathers, Camilo, Gershon Koffie, Jeb Brodsky (Michael Nanchoff 85), Shea Salinas (Bilal Duckett 90), Eric Hassli, Davide Chiumiento (Peter Vagenas 73).