Nicolas Lodeiro’s golazo that broke the scoreless deadlock in the 84th minute should’ve been it. In fact, the Seattle Sounders should have walked out of Avaya Stadium with a road win and three important road points – especially against Western Conference rival San Jose Earthquakes.
But there were still more than five minutes left in the match. The Earthquakes has had a case for the dramatics at home so far this year and they put that on display once again Saturday night. Chris Wondolowski kicked in the match-tying goal in the 90th minute off of a cross from Marco Ureña, and instead of a road win, the defending MLS Cup champions walked away with a lone road point after their 1-1 draw against the Earthquakes.
“It always sucks,” Sounders’ head coach Brian Schmetzer said outside of a depressed Seattle locker room. “It happens in this league. No team ever gives up. There’s always a chance.”
The draw is the second straight for Seattle and extends their unbeaten streak to four matches since their opening day loss to Houston. Last week, they ended up playing to a scoreless draw at home against Atlanta United.
To the Sounders, Saturday’s draw against the Earthquakes feels like the complete opposite of their 2-2 draw at the Montreal Impact just last month, where Seattle scored a match-tying goal as Will Bruin scored in the final seconds of stoppage time. That one felt like a win. This one feels like a loss.
“It felt like we lost the game,” Sounders defender Gustav Svensson said. “That sucks. We get a point and it’s not too bad, but it’s the way we got it. It just feels like we lost the game.”
Svensson, who replaced an injured Roman Torres in the Seattle backline in the 15th minute, helped the backline keep both Wondolowski and Ureña in check throughout the night, at least, until the final five minutes.
The Sounders kept an aggressive Earthquakes attack in check throughout the match, although both teams missed several chances throughout the night. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei kept the Sounders in the game by making a huge save on what would’ve been a highlight-reel goal by Ureña in the first half.
Earthquakes midfielder Darwin Ceren found Cordell Cato on Seattle’s left wing and Cato found Ureña running inside the 18. Ureña sent in the cross to Wondolowski who tapped in the pass into the top of the net.
The goal follows a play where Frei punched away a corner by Shea Salinas that was cleared out by the Sounders. Seattle played more defensively in the final minutes to try to hold onto the 1-0 lead, and it showed.
“It felt like we were a little bit too scared to lose points that we fell back a little too much and let them put pressure on us,” Svensson said. “It’s not a good feeling, but as I said, one point is one point and I think tomorrow it’s going to feel a little bit better.”
The Sounders actually nearly lost the game shortly after giving up the tying goal to Wondolowski. Ureña nearly pushed San Jose up 2-1 after the Earthquakes stole a throw in for Seattle, but Frei knocked away Ureña’s shot on the breakaway. Lodeiro then took his chance as Seattle tried to create a match-winning chance late, but his shot went just wide of the net.
Despite the draw and going into a short week ahead as the club travels to Vancouver on Friday for their first Cascadia match of the year against the Whitecaps, the defending champions are still confident going into the new week, especially given their recent history.
“Those guys, that’s a committed group,” Schmetzer said. “They always do the work and they’re resilient. They showed it last year.”