VANCOUVER, B.C. — More madness in Cascadia.
The Sounders gave up a gift of a go-ahead goal to the Vancouver Whitecaps, then got a gift of a penalty kick to equalize, and ultimately earned a wild 2-2 tie in some unforgettable rivalry entertainment.
Seattle (8-3-2) has lost once in its past eight games and just narrowly avoided another in front of 21,000 fans at a sold-out BC Place, mainly due to what coach Sigi Schmid described as a “comedy of errors” in the 66th minute.
The play started when Sounders midfielder Marco Pappa unpredictably kicked the ball toward his own goal to avoid pressure, a head-scratcher that was compounded when goalkeeper Stefan Frei inexplicably left his goal to save it in the corner and kick it up the field.
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Vancouver’s Gershon Koffie gathered the clearance and, under some pressure from Seattle’s Gonzalo Pineda, fired a left-footed shot from about 40 yards that bounced into an open net for a 2-1 lead.
Frei called it a “stupid play on my part,” then added he was “thankful that my guys were there to pick me up.”
That moment came in the 82nd minute, thanks to a controversial call from referee Ismail Elfath.
Seattle was given a penalty kick when Elfath whistled Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit for a foul on forward Cam Weaver, a Kent native, in the penalty box. Replays showed very little contact, but Pineda stepped up and deftly chipped in a spot-kick down the middle.
“I only try it when it’s the right moment — when nobody expects it,” said Pineda, who has tried the risky shot before. “My first goal is to score, not to be fancy.”
Two minutes later, Sounders forward Obafemi Martins nearly gave the visitors an unexpected lead, but his left-footed run slammed off the post.
Frei, on the other end, atoned for his mistake and preserved the tie with two stunning saves on Koffie in stoppage time. The back-and-forth action was reminiscent of Seattle’s crazy 4-4 tie at Portland in the year’s only other Cascadia Cup game.
Vancouver (4-2-5) came in having won two in a row and got out to a blistering start, taking an 8-0 shot advantage in the first nine minutes. It was the Sounders, though, who struck first.
The goal came in the 36th minute when Chad Barrett, making his first start as a Sounder, leaped high to head in a cross from Kenny Cooper.
The lead didn’t last long as Vancouver equalized on a brilliant individual effort from blossoming youngster Erik Hurtado. The second-year forward gathered a pass in the 39th minute, made a move to beat to Seattle defensive stalwart Osvaldo Alonso, then made another move to beat Alonso and defender Djimi Traore, capping the series by blasting a shot into the roof of the net.
“We actually tackled our own player,” Schmid said.
Vancouver went on to claim a 24-8 shot advantage, overall, meaning the Sounders can have few complaints about the result. The most Seattle has ever conceded in an MLS game is 25 shots.
“We always want to get more,” said Schmid, “but we’re happy to walk away with at least a point.”
• Brad Evans was on the bench for Seattle after returning from the U.S. national team having been left off coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s final World Cup roster of 23. Evans came on as a 57th-minute injury replacement for Traore and was mocked by some Whitecaps fans with the chant of “U.S. re-ject!”
Asked why he felt ready to play right away after the disappointment, Evans said: “Initially your feelings are, ‘Put this in the past. I want to run around for 90 minutes and get after it.’ … I told (Schmid) I felt good. I was mentally ready to go.”
• The Sounders fielded their 13th lineup in as many games as Chad Marshall (illness) and Lamar Neagle (hamstring) were out, replaced by Traore and Barrett, respectively.
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