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 he finally came off the pitch.
The Sounders return to MLS play July 11 at Chicago.
88' GOAL Sounders. Tyrone Mears with an absolute bullet into the back of the net from about 16 yards. Seattle, 1-0.
78' Andy Craven on for Thomas. Still scoreless.
Yellows to Alonso and Kitchen.
Second half: ... has begun. No additional changes.
55' Frei on Sounders bench. Left arm in sling.
45: Stefan Frie comes off after head or shoulder injury in collision in front of goal several minutes earlier. That ends a streak of 4,725 consecutive regular-season minutes in goal. Perkins makes Sounders debut.
27' Red card to Espindola, who apparently threw elbow at Scott. They had been bumping for 27 minutes. Scoreless. Sounders a man up.
13' Yellow to Scott. Seemed clear to me, but Sounders no happy about it.\
10' Active start for Sounders, if a bit over-anxious. Too many non-dangerous shots that should have been dangerous passes instead.
5' Doyle comes in for Silva as DC forced into early change. Attributed to groin tightness.
First kick: ... has been struck. Sounders in rave/blue; United in black/black.
Lineups: Sounders: Frei; Meas, Marshall, Scott, Remick; Neagle, Alonso, Pineda, Poldan, Thomas; Barrett. Reserves: Perkins, Ockford, Gonzalez, Azira, Rose, Craven, Jones.
Schmid hinted this formation on Wednesday:
Today is the first day we’ve been able to training in something other than what we normally play: a 4-4-2. I put them back into a 4-4-2 against Portland because I thought that would be comfortable for them. But on the same token, based on the skill set of players that we have, that’s probably not the best formation for this particular group of forwards that we have right now. ... Barrett’s more suited for being the lone forward up top. Neagle is more suited for playing one of two up top, or coming a little more from the wing. He’s a player who’s better facing goal or running off somebody, stretching the defense. Barrett can play with his back to goal if need be, but can also stretch the defense as well.
For DC: Dykstra; Kemp, Birnbaum, Boswell, Korb; Deleon, Arnaud, Kitchen, Rolfe; Silva, Espindola. Reserves: Worra, Opare, Aguilar, Halsti, Arrieta, Doyle, Coria.
Pregame: It's 91 degrees in Seattle a little more than two hours before first kick of Sounders and DC United, but the full field already in shadow, and temperature supposed to drop to around 82 by the 8:10 p.m. first kick.
The game will be shown locally on JOEtv and nationally on UniMas. It also can be heard on the usual radio outlets, and blogged here with more updates and comments on Twitter @donruiztnt.
Here's our game preview from today's News Tribune.