SEATTLE — The second half of the Seattle Sounders season began Saturday, and with the game being the first of three consecutive at home, this was the time for the Sounders to turn things around. It was the time to overcome all the injuries, to put an inconsistent first half in the rearview mirror, to … hey, who’s marking that guy?
Two breakdowns on a single play unraveled a pretty solid overall performance by the Sounders on Saturday and dampened their plans of making the game the launching point for a second-half turnaround. The gaffe allowed the Colorado Rapids to score their only goal in what for the Sounders and the 39,196 fan at CenturyLink Field was a very disappointing 1-1 tie.
For much of the game, the Sounders were the aggressor and looked to be the better team, but it was Colorado that struck first, getting a goal in the 60th minute when Drew Moor ran unmarked through Seattle’s box and headed in a Nick LaBrocca corner kick. Moor wouldn’t have been on the receiving end of that pass had goalkeeper Andrew Weber not misplayed the corner in the first place.
“It caught the wind, I mistimed it and got it with my fingertips,” said Weber, Seattle’s fourth option at goalkeeper who was forced into action because injuries to the Sounders’ other ’keepers,
“We were in-between who was marking up on Drew Moor. Like I said, I mistimed it and he just tucked it away. I could have been better on the play and we could have been tighter marking.”
The Sounders salvaged a tie thanks to DeAndre Yedlin’s 65th-minute goal, but a tie was hardly what the Sounders were looking for from their first home game since July 3.
“It’s disappointing, but you’ve just got to roll up your sleeves and keep working,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “… We have to keep working. We know where we’re at. We’re still trying to get our best 11 on the field at the same time and get them to work together and hopefully each day at practice we can get that a little more, and as guys return from injuries we can get closer to that.”
As disappointed as the Sounders were to not get a victory, it could have been a much worse day if not for Yedlin’s goal. Coming into the game, the Sounders had lost every game this season in which they conceded the first goal, but a nice individual effort by Lamar Neagle and good persistence by Yedlin allowed Seattle to salvage a tie.
Neagle corralled a header from Servando Carrasco in the box, then turned on his defender and fired a low shot off the post. The ball rebounded to Yedlin, whose initial shot was saved by a diving Clint Irwin, but that rebound came right back to Yedlin, who headed in his first goal in MLS Play. (He scored earlier this year in CONCACAF Champions league play).
The goal made the 20-year-old rookie the youngest player to score an MLS goal in Sounders history and capped off a week in which he was named to the MLS All-Star team. Already this season, Yedlin has become the youngest Sounder to play a complete game and to record an assist.
“The main thing that he did well is he stayed with the play,” Schmid said. “The ball came back out for the header, he stayed with the header and scored.”
Yet despite another big moment in his young career, Yedlin conceded that the tie “definitely” felt like a loss. And when midfieder Marc Burch was asked if a tie was a disappointing result when for a team that is trying to climb into playoff position, he answered, “Of course.”
“We were expecting three (points),” Burch said. “We needed three. We’re at a stage where want nine points (out of three home games) and if we got nine points in these games we’d be a really good spot. But seven now is the only goal.”
Trying to complete the comeback, Schmid subbed in forwards David Estrada and first-round pick Eriq Zavaleta, and there were chances in the final minutes, but none led to the Sounders getting the desired result. Try as the might, the Sounders couldn’t overcome the corner-kick gaffe that put them in a hole.
“One mistake,” Schmid said, “and they score.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.