SEATTLE Seattle Sounders FC played half of the game without the only goalkeeper they’ve used since the start of the 2014 season.
D.C. United played more than half of the match with only 10 men.
For 87 minutes it appeared neither team would be able to take advantage of the other’s misfortune. However, with about two minutes left in regulation, left back Tyrone Mears ran into space and fired a rocket into the back of the far netting from about 16 yards.
The defenders’ first MLS goal gave the Sounders a 1-0 win before a crowd of 40,410 at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle (10-7-2) snapped a three-game losing streak.
United (10-6-5) remains atop the Major League soccer points race, but suffered their fourth straight shutout against the Sounders.
The first half of that clean sheet was kept by Stafan Frei, who had played every regular-season minute for the Sounders since joining the club before the 2014 season. However, that streak ended at 4,725 consecutive minutes when Frei left the field with an apparent left arm or shoulder injury suffered several minutes earlier in a collision in front of the goal.
His departure brought on the regular-season debut of Sounders reserve keeper, veteran Troy Perkins.
Seattle once again began with a roster depleted by international duty (Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and Marco Pappa) and injury (Obafemi Martins). However, All-Star midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was back in the starting lineup for the first time since May 31 after missing five league matches with a left hamstring strain.
The teams played a rough first half, which took a toll on both teams.
In the 27th minute, United forward and assists leader Fabian Espindola raised his elbow in warding off Zach Scott and was given a red card, reducing D.C. to 10 men in the rest of the way.
Soon thereafter, Frei went down after a collision in front of the goal. He was tended to on the pitch, but tried to remain in the game. However, just seconds into first-half stoppage time.
The Sounders return to MLS play July 11 at Chicago.