CHESTER, Penn. – Sounders FC went into Philadelphia down four starters who did not make the trip. Over the course of the match, they lost two more to red-card ejections, but still walked out with one point after a 2-2 draw.
Eddie Johnson and Mauro Rosales scored for the Sounders and Danny Cruz scored two goals one minute apart to end Seattle’s shutout streak at 285 consecutive minutes as the Sounders moved to 1-3-3 on the season.
“I thought we had some chances earlier in the game that we should have done a little more with and obviously they came back and had chances,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It could have been 5-5. It was a pretty open game, a pretty attack-minded game.”
Things started off in Seattle’s favor in the match and they were rewarded with an early goal.
In the 10th minute, Rosales sent a corner kick into the box and Johnson got free for a header that caught Zac MacMath off guard and crossed the line before he could get to it to make the stop and the Sounders took the 1-0 lead.
The goal was Johnson’s second of the year and it was the team’s first headed goal of the year. Johnson had nine such goals in 2012, the most in MLS since the league started keeping track of headed goals in 2003. It was the first time Rosales and Johnson connected on a goal this season, too, after Rosales assisted on six of Johnson’s goals in 2012.
“It is good for confidence. I missed three games, and at the end of the day the good goalscorers have rhythm just playing game after game after game. That’s how you get your sharpness and confidence,” Johnson said. “I’ve been trying to make a difference the last couple games, we have been playing some good soccer, and I just want to make an impact.”
The Sounders held that lead until halftime, but not without some luck after the Union twice hit the frame.
In the 32nd minute, Jack McInerney nearly pulled that goal back with a header off a cross from Sheanon Williams, but caught the top of the crossbar and it skipped away for a goal kick.
Michael Farfan had a chance in the 38th minute, too, but Jhon Kennedy Hurtado slid in to block the shot away for a corner kick. On the corner, Amobi Okugo hit a header in the middle of the box, but it pinged off the far post and Jeff Parke missed high with his side-volley attempt off the rebound.
Cruz finally equalized in the 50th minute, ending Michael Gspurning’s shutout streak at 285 minutes.
Conor Casey got his head to a McInerney cross and hit the post but the rebound fell to Cruz on the right side and he powered a shot inside the far post for a goal.
Moments later, Cruz added another, chesting down a clearance by Traore and knocking it in for a goal in the 51st minute to put the Union up 2-1.
They were the two quickest goals allowed in Sounders FC history.
“It was a very tough game for us on defense. Especially after 30 minutes into the game they came in and took a couple chances but we did well until the end of the first half,” Gspurning said. “We had a really bad start of the second half. It was completely unnecessary for us. You should be more awake after the first goal.”
Seattle bounced back, turning the tide when Mario Martinez subbed into the match in the 62nd minute.
Martinez led Leo Gonzalez into the box up the left side and Gonzalez crossed the ball to the middle where Rosales spun a left-footed side-volley for his first goal of the season, evening up the score in the 64th minute at 2-2.
“We know we are a team that creates chances,” said Johnson, who was right next to Rosales when he scored. “I thought we weathered the storm.”
Things got chippy in the 84th minute when Sheanon Williams took umbrage to Neagle. After the two exchanged shoves, Williams and Neagle were both shown red cards and each side was down to 10 men.
DeAndre Yedlin, meanwhile, was sent off in second-half stoppage time for a foul in the middle of the field and the match finished 10v9.
The Sounders were already without regular starters Shalrie Joseph, Steve Zakuani and Obafemi Martins due to injury and Osvaldo Alonso after his wife gave birth on Friday to their second child – a daughter named Paulina. Some of them are expected to rejoin the team for their next match on Wednesday in Kansas City.
Sounders FC – Eddie Johnson (Mauro Rosales) 10; Mauro Rosales (Leo Gonzalez, Mario Martinez) 64.
Union – Danny Cruz 50; Danny Cruz 51.
Sounders FC – Lamar Neagle (ejection) 84; DeAndre Yedlin (ejection) 91+; Eddie Johnson (caution) 92+.
Union – Michael Farfan (caution) 43; Gabriel Farfan (caution) 81; Sheanon Williams (ejection) 84.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (David Estrada 83), Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans (Andy Rose 74), Alex Caskey (Mario Martinez 62), Lamar Neagle, Eddie Johnson.
Union – Zac MacMath, Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke (Gabriel Farfan 46+), Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis, Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot 72), Brian Carroll, Keon Daniel, Michael Farfan, Jack McInerney (Sebastien Le Toux 85), Conor Casey.