Seattle Sounders FC had hoped that July would be the month it turned this MLS season around, but so far the results have been mixed.
Then the Sounders put stock in this three-game homestand but got off to a ragged start Saturday with a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids.
The result left Colorado (8-7-7) six points ahead of Seattle (7-7-4) in the Western Conference standings and keeps the Sounders searching for the moment when their fortunes will turn.
“We have many games ahead of us,” captain Mauro Rosales said. “We still are in a good position. We have to keep going and try to get points as soon as we (can). When we play here also we have to get points. Today we get one – obviously we wanted three points today, but we’re just looking for the next game and trying to get three points.”
Despite having 10 players out due to injury or international duty, Seattle controlled the flow most of the way. But Colorado scored first, taking advantage of two Sounders errors on a corner kick in the 60th minute. Goalkeeper Andrew Weber misplayed the cross by Colorado’s Nick LaBrocca, and the defense behind him lost track of forward Drew Moor, who headed in the game’s first goal.
“It caught the wind, and I mistimed it,” said Weber, who was brought up from third-division Phoenix FC due to the run of injuries. “I caught it with my fingertips. We were in between who was marking up on Drew Moor, and like I said, I mistimed it and he just tucked it away. I could have been better on the play, and I think we could have been better on marking.”
Seattle drew even five minutes later. That play began with Lamar Neagle sending a shot off the far post, and rookie DeAndre Yedlin sending the rebound back on frame. The shot was batted away by Colorado keeper Clint Irwin, but Yedlin got to it again, this time heading it into the back of the net.
“A little bit lucky, I think, but it’s always good to get a goal,” said Yedlin, 20, who became the youngest Sounder to score an MLS goal. “Lamar had a good shot – unlucky to go off the post. It bounced to me, hit it first, keeper made a good save, and I was lucky it bounced back and I headed it.”
The Sounders ended with 17 shots to nine by the Rapids; and they put seven shots on target, compared with Colorado’s two. Seattle had 53.7 percent of the possession.
“Good to see us come back and equalize the game,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Then, we’re not a team that generally humps it and dumps it in, but that’s what we were (doing) at the end. … Maybe we could have played that a little bit better.
“We don’t train that a lot because we don’t expect to play that way very often. (Rookie reserve Eriq) Zavaleta had a header in that series. We were close, but sometimes too many guys rushing in not covering the top of the 18 as well. But I’m pleased that we tried to win.”
The result ended Seattle’s MLS record-tying seven-game win streak against Colorado and a run of four straight wins at home. The Sounders are 1-2-1 in July with one more game this month– July 29 – when Chivas USA visits.
However, Seattle still has played fewer matches than any other Western Conference team, hasn’t lost at home since March, and plays nine of its final 16 regular-season games at home.
“Statistics can support positive things, statistics can support negative things, and they’re actually the same stats,” 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, get them to work together, and hopefully Tuesday at practice we get that a little bit more.”