FOXBOROUGH, MASS. – Sounders FC stands at 7-5-5 exactly halfway through this Major League Soccer season.
However, this season might be more appropriately divided into quarters.
Over their first nine games, the Sounders leaped to a club-record 7-1-1 start. But over the eight games since, they have gone 0-4-4.
That club-record winless streak continued Saturday with a 2-2 draw at New England (5-7-4).
Seattle led deep into stoppage time, until Diego Fagundez split a pair of defenders and headed home the equalizer just seconds ahead of the final whistle.
“We showed character coming from behind, but at the same time, a draw doesn’t mean anything if your 20 seconds away, leading 2-1,” said Eddie Johnson, who scored both Seattle goals. “It doesn’t mean anything; not really. This is a competitive league. Any time you can steal three points you’ve got to take the three points. ... We’re not finding ways to win games, you know?”
Also continuing was the Sounders’ habit of falling behind early.
The Revolution broke ahead in the 12th minute, when Saer Sene took a pass in front of the Seattle goal and beat goalkeeper Andrew Weber. Sene appeared to be offside, and replays seemed to confirm that. However, the goal stood, and it furthered the Sounders’ streak of eight straight games surrendering the first goal.
“Playing from behind is obviously difficult,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “But we came back today, and we got ourselves on top.”
Seattle rallied behind Johnson’s team-high sixth and seventh goals of the season.
The first came in the 23rd minute, when he headed in a cross from Mauro Rosales.
The next came in the 36th minute, this time on a Marc Burch cross to the far post, where Johnson headed it past New England keeper Matt Reis.
“I was talking to the boys, and the goals don’t mean anything if we’re not winning when we score goals,” Johnson said. “... One of our strengths is getting the ball out wide and serving the ball in the box. We’ve got guys who can score, who are dangerous on crosses. We’re a big team and were playing to our strengths, and we kind of went from playing to our strengths as the game went on”
The eruption marked Johnson’s first multigoal game as a Sounder, and gave him three goals over two matches.
It also put the Sounders ahead, 2-1; and that score remained almost until the final whistle. However, both clubs had near-misses they will live to regret.
Sene put at least three shots over the crossbar. Seattle’s best chance at an insurance goal may have come in the 69th minute, when Johnson sent a cross in front of the box that midfielder Osvaldo Alonso headed high.
Seattle was still nursing its one-goal lead about three minutes into stoppage time, when the same linesman who apparently missed the offside call on the first goal frustrated them again.
This time, he indicated a foul on Alvaro Fernandez, who seemed to have been dumped from behind while eating time along the touch line.
With possession instead returned to New England, the Revs began their final push. That ended with Fagundez finding room between Burch and Zach Scott and sending his header past Bryan Meredith, who played the second half after Weber went off with a groin injury.“You don’t expect to have to make a goalkeeper sub, so that would have given me one more field sub,” Schmid said. “We could have brought on fresh legs. I think you saw a lot of tired people out there at the end. ... If we had one more sub that could have made a difference for us.”
The game was played before a crowd of 15,264 at Gillette Stadium.
Seattle’s winless streak began May 12 with a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. And that’s who shows up next on the schedule, as the Sounders visit RSL at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Alonso will miss that game due to yellow-card accumulation after receiving his fifth caution of the season Saturday. blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer