By Karen Watson
SEATTLE – It looked more like a table tennis game than a soccer match during the second half scoring bonanza between the Sounders and cross border rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps, with three goals inside five minutes and ultimately ending in a 2-2 draw.
Vancouver gained the advantage first in the 29’ from a penalty kick gained when Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso tripped up Brazilian forward Camilo inside the box. Whitecaps forward Eric Hassli executed a perfect PK, giving the visitors extra confidence going into the second half.
Seattle’s best chance of the first half came just before the break at the 45’ mark when Mike Fucito went on a terrific run but sent the ball wide after being pushed down by Vancouver defender Alain Rochat. An eruption of boos went up from the crowd after referee Mark Geiger failed to call a penalty on the challenge while the Sounders players were visibly frustrated with the decision, animatedly appealing to Geiger who did give out a yellow card – to Alonso for dissent.
After the break the Sounders moved about with a frenetic energy as a result of having to play catch up. As the minutes ticked away and a series of missed opportunities, the home side began to look slightly desperate. Until the 81’ that is, when they tore the score sheet wide open with back to back goals. Having a fantastic game already, midfielder Mauro Rosales topped it off with the tying goal. Coming in from the right, he was first to the ball and without hesitation sent it right past Vancouver keeper Joe Cannon.
The goal celebrations had barely ended when Rosales’ shot was quickly followed in the 84’ by a rocket from Alonso who simply threaded the ball thru the Vancouver defense and into the back of the net.
Unfortunately, the Sounders lead was extremely short lived as the Whitecaps almost immediately tied things up once again in the 85’ when Frenchman Hassli gained the ball on the turn, almost contorting himself to bring it under control and got off an incredible shot that skimmed the far post as it went in.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid called the goal “magnificent” but went on to add, “that should have never been allowed to happen. It was our ball, it was off our guy. When you’ve got the lead 2-1 you got to get the ball out.” Defender John Kennedy Hurtado’s poor clearance led to the turnover and scoring opportunity.
This was the 116th meeting between the two teams, but the first in MLS competition. Both teams took away a point but the struggling Whitecaps haven’t won in their last fourteen games and are last in the Western Division. Seattle holds onto third and next face Toronto FC away on Saturday, June 18.