Both the teams made several changes from their last games, as Seattle welcomed back Hurtado and Nate Jaqua from suspension, and Osvaldo Alonso from an injury. United brought in Andrew Jacobson and Luciano Emilio, who missed the last game due to a suspension.
In a highly anticipated matchup, between two of the better attacking sides in MLS, neither side failed to disappoint, but both were left to take only one point from the match.
Anticipation was high for attacking soccer in this game, and the opening stages of the game delivered as such. Seattle came out of the gates flying, and had several early chances. Striker Fredy Montero had a dangerous cross knocked away by United 'keeper Josh Wicks, with two Seattle players waiting in the middle. Sebastien Le Toux had a shot blocked by Wicks after Freddie Ljungberg played a dangerous through ball. In the 8th minute, Le Toux had another opportunity, only this time, United midfielder Clyde Simms made a crucial block.
D.C. looked out of their wits, but were able to get a foothold in the game, and started to possess the bal, and create some of their own chances. United's best chance came in the 15th minute, as a well worked one two pass from Chris Pontius and Santino Quaranta gave Pontius a goal scoring opportunity, but Seattle 'keeper Kasey Keller was equal to the chance, and kept it out.
The game began to slow at that point, as United tried to play a possession game, and keep Seattle's frentic pace to a minimum. As the game entered the second fifteen minutes, chances were few and far between, and the early excitement seemed to be slipping from the game.
But in the 34th minute, the pace began to pick up, and the chances began to turn into goals. Santino Quaranta had time on the ball near the touchline, in the Seattle half of the field. He then sent a welcoming cross towards the back post, which got by several defenders, and found Chris Pontius, who volleyed home for the 1-0 lead.
The goal however, did not turn the tide of the game, and Seattle began to immediately pile on pressure, looking for the equalizing goal.
In the 36th minute, from a Seattle corner, Montero had a free header from a secondary cross, only for him to put it just over the bar. Two minutes later, Ljungberg played a longball that found Montero, but Wicks was up to the task of making the save.
From that sequence however, came the Seattle equalizer. United failed to properly clear the opportunity, allowing Seattle to keep the ball in play. From there, Alonso received the ball outside of the box, and immediately lined up a shot, and drilled a 25 yard shot, that Wicks could only get his finger tips to, as it went in for a goal.
Seattle continued to apply the pressure to a shell shocked United, and were rewarded with a second goal on the stroke of halftime. Just before stoppage time began, Montero played a little chip over the United defense for Nate Jaqua. Jaqua bundled a shot, which took a fortunate bounce off of United defender Marc Burch. The deflection caught Wicks out, who could only watch the ball teasingly bounce by, and into the goal, to give Seattle a 2-1 lead going into halftime.
With the late surge, Seattle went in at half with the lead, with a home crowd in a frenzy.
The intermission seemed to little to calm United's nerves, or slow down the Seattle attack. In just the 46th minute, Montero was presented with a glorious chance to add to the lead, but his shot from a tight angle was well saved by Wicks.
Ljungberg was then played through the United defense in the 51st minute, allowing him to break in on goal. But once in the box, he aimed towards the near post, only to have his effort slam off the post, denying Seattle a third goal.
However, Seattle's persistence was rewarded in the 57th minute, as Montero scored a scintilating goal to give Seattle a 3-1 lead. Montero picked the ball up in the United half, and then made his way into the box. He turned Burch around in the box, before curling a delicious left footed shot around Wicks at the far post, handing Seattle what seemed to be an insurmountable lead.
United however, was not out. And there next opportunity, was converting in the 63rd minute, thanks to a goal from second half substitute Christian Gomez. Gomez backheeled a pass towards Ange N'Silu, who was able to keep the ball alive for Gomez. Gomez then picked the ball back up, and made his way towards the goal, before sizing up a shot, and Keller with a low shot.
The goal from United did not signal a shift in momentum though, and Seattle continued to create most of the chances. Steve Zakuani, who came on for Montero, had a chance in the 71st minute, but Wicks made another save at the near post. Substitute Stephen King had an audacious volley go wide in the 79th minute, before Tyrone Marshall had a header from a corner go straight to Wicks in the 84th minute.
All the missed opportunities from Seattle meant that United was still in the game. And with one wrong step by Seattle, United found the equalizer in the 87th minute. Pontius sent an early cross in from the left, looking for and missing Quaranta. But Marshall then accidently headed the ball into his own goal, handing United a much needed break.
Steven Streff, Goal.com
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