Clint Dempsey

Draw with San Jose disappointing for Sounders but not discouraging with Portland on Sunday

SEATTLE – After a 1-1 draw with San Jose Earthquakes moved Sounders FC into the pole position in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, Seattle’s locker room was hardly one of celebration or elation.

At home, Seattle holds itself to a higher standard, and taking just one point against a conference opponent wasn’t good enough on Wednesday night.

“It was disappointing.  The guys are disappointed because they really wanted to come out with a win today,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said.  “You look at our record and we probably have tied the least amount of times in the league.  We’d rather have a win, but rather not have a loss.”

Seattle outshot San Jose 24-10, but had 12 of its shots blocked, and Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch finished the match with six saves, leaving the Sounders in want of more as it inched atop the league standings.  Chad Barrett scored his sixth goal of the season less than a minute into the second half, but Chris Wondolowski equalized 19 minutes later and Seattle had to settle for just one point.

“Some draws you come out feeling pretty good about it and some you feel just a bit depleted,” midfielder Andy Rose said.  “Unfortunately tonight we probably let two points slip.  It falls into that category.  So we have to pick ourselves back up now.  It’s a big week ahead of us.”

The best first-half chance for either team came in the 43rd minute when Obafemi Martins fielded a pass at the top of the 18, pivoted to the inside and fired a left-footed shot that Busch parried over the crossbar for a corner kick.  Over the next 90 seconds, Seattle had chances off the feet of Jalil Anibaba and Marco Pappa, but couldn’t convert either and the first half ended scoreless.

That scoreline didn’t last long into the second half.

In the 46th minute, Martins led Barrett into space and Barrett popped a shot past Busch for a 1-0 lead.  It was Barrett’s 50th career MLS goal, making him the 41st player in league history to reach that milestone.

In the 65th minute, San Jose equalized through Wondolowski’s ninth goal of the season.  Cordell Cato carried the ball up the left side, cut to his left foot in the box and slipped the ball across the six-yard box.  Wondolowski pounced on it at the far post and touched it in to even the tally at 1-1.

Seattle continued to fire away at the San Jose net. Clint Dempsey got his head to a cross from Martins in second-half stoppage time, but Busch made the save and the match finished in just the third draw of the season for Seattle.

“It feels like a letdown.  We’re still tied for first and the top of the lead, but the margin that we built up at the start of the season is now gone.  We can’t use that anymore,” Barrett said.  “We’ve had our losses and we struggled a little bit.  Now it’s time to turn on the burners.  The last part of the season is the important part.  That’s when you need to get hot.  There is a lot of good stuff to take away from tonight, but we’re going to work on it and once everyone starts scoring again, we’re going to score in bunches.”

Seattle meets the Portland Timbers on Sunday at Providence Park in Portland, finishing off a stretch of five matches in 15 days.