Sounders FC

Sounders let lead slip away

It was a wild game played in wide-open spaces.

By the time it was over, six goals had been scored, making it the highest-scoring game in Seattle Sounders FC’s inaugural season.

But the even division of the goals was the crusher: a 3-3 draw with D.C. United that left the Sounders frustrated about chances that got away.

“I’m biased because I’m the Seattle coach, but I thought that overall we had enough chances to score seven or eight goals, and we didn’t,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “And they had enough chances to score maybe four, and they scored three out of four.”

Included among the six were two Seattle goals of individual brilliance – one by Osvaldo Alonso that pulled the Sounders even at 1-1 and another by Fredy Montero that increased their lead to a seemingly safe 3-1.

But also in the mix were two own-goals, including the gut-wrencher that Sounders defender Tyrone Marshall headed into his own net to draw United even in the 88th minute.

“Our lack of discipline is killing us, and from multiple things,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “You don’t pick and choose when you mark a guy, you don’t pick and choose when you run with your runner, you don’t pick and choose when you decide to make a run and put pressure on the ball. You do all the hard work – 3-1 at home, you close up shop. And instead, we just don’t have the discipline to do it, we don’t have the discipline to say, ‘OK, I’m not going to go forward this time. I’m not going to try to flick a ball over somebody’s head and do something special. I’m going to do my job and make sure this stays 3-1 at the very least.’ Until that comes into our game, we’re going to throw games away.”

United is a team that prides itself on playing an attacking open game. It opened in a 3-4-3 formation, and the Sounders exploited it for plenty of early chances.

However, when the scoring started, it was D.C. that started it.

In the 34th minute, Chris Pontius launched a long cross from near the touchline. Santino Quaranta fought his way through James Riley and a couple of other Sounders defenders, volleying past Keller.

Seattle answered with even more chances and finally broke through as Alonso got the ball in space, wound up, and drilled the ball on a rope into the top right corner past Josh Wicks, who had no chance.

The Sounders took their first lead late in the first half when Montero rolled the ball into the penalty area to Nate Jaqua, whose weak shot was redirected off the ankle of DC’s Marc Burch and into the net for an own-goal.

What proved to be Seattle’s final goal came in the 57th minute, when Jaqua sent a long pass to Montero, who lost Burch on a sharp left turn into the penalty area, ignored Freddie Ljungberg who made a long cross-field run, and sent a low shot that curved left-to-right around Wicks.

However, D.C. moved back within striking distance on a Christian Gomez goal in the 63rd minute, which set the stage for Marshall’s late mis-hit.

“It doesn’t feel good,” Schmid said. “This was a game that we should have won tonight, and we should have won it going away. We should have never given up the goal in the first half because they really had nothing in the first half. And then we battled back – Alonso scored an unbelievable goal – but again we had enough chances to do it.

“It’s very deflating when a team comes back and ties you like that.”

The Sounders’ record moved to 5-3-6 for the season. They are six points behind Western co-leaders Houston and Chivas USA. United went to 5-2-8 and remains atop the East.

The Sounders now face an early wake-up call today for their cross-country flight to New Jersey, where they will meet the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. It will be the Sounders’ third league game in eight days.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808