Sounders battle Union to 2-2 draw

  • McClatchy news services
  • Saturday, May 4, 2013 7:46pm
  • SportsSports

CHESTER, Pa. — The Seattle Sounders led and trailed and finally came away with a 2-2 draw in a wild MLS match with the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

The Sounders ended the game with nine players on the field, and the Union with 10, as three red cards were flashed in the final five minutes. Sounders defender Leo Gonzalez also apparently got away with a hand ball in the penalty area in the closing seconds.

With the final whistle, the Sounders (1-3-3) pushed their unbeaten streak to three games and extended their unbeaten streak when scoring first to a league-high 34 games.

“We were happy that once we got down 2-1 that we came back and equalized the game,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “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. It could have been 5-5. It was a pretty open game, a pretty attack-minded game.”

Seattle dominated early and jumped ahead in the 10th minute when Eddie Johnson lost his defender and headed in a Mauro Rosales corner kick from about seven yards.

“It is good for confidence,” Johnson said. “I missed three games, and at the end of the day the good goal-scorers, they have rhythm just playing game after game after game. That’s how you get your sharpness and confidence. … We have been playing some good soccer, and I just want to make an impact.”

Philadelphia pulled even and then ahead in the 50th and 51st minutes, in each case with Danny Cruz getting to a rebounded shot and knocking it back in. The one-two punch set a Sounders record for shortest time between goals allowed.

“It was completely unnecessary for us,” goalkeeper Michael Gspurning said. “You should be more awake after the first goal and not stay tight. But yes, I believe the momentum changes, and sometimes the second goal is possible.”

Seattle salvaged the draw in the 64th minute when Rosales knocked in a cross from Leo Gonzalez.

“In the second half, the two early goals, I think we didn’t come with the same concentration as the first half,” Rosales said. “It was a good result — we got points away — (but) it is not what we wanted. We wanted three.”

The Sounders played without would-be starters such as Obafemi Martins, Steve Zakuani and Sharlie Joseph — all due to injury — and without Osvaldo Alonso, who missed the game to be with his family after the birth of his second child on Friday.

Seattle also finished the game without Lamar Neagle and DeAndre Yedlin, who picked up red cards in the final minutes. Yedlin’s straight red was awarded for a reckless tackle, while Neagle was sent off for a series of shoves and head bumps with Philadelphia’s Sheanon Williams, who also received a red card.

“(The referee) said that we both head-butted each other, which is false,” Williams said “… I asked (Neagle) when we were going off if he thought that I head-butted him, and he said ‘no.’ He didn’t head-butt me, and that’s the explanation that the referee gave us. If you want to give us a yellow for a shoving match, that’s fine. But to throw us out of a game for something that we both didn’t do, I thought that was just a little unfair.”

Also not around for the end was Union defender Jeff Parke, who suffered a leg injury just before halftime.

Philadelphia (3-3-3) out-shot Seattle 22-10 and held 56 percent of the possession.

A crowd of 18,344 was announced at PPL Park.

The Sounders travel to Kansas City, Kan., today, where they will meet Sporting KC at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Neagle and Yedlin will be ineligible while serving their one-game red-card suspension. However, Schmid indicated that some of his injured players might be available by then.

“It is going to be another challenge,” Johnson said. “But at the end of the day as a player you want to be challenged.”

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