There were plenty of numbers in Seattle’s favor Wednesday night against San Jose.
The Sounders had 24 shots to the Earthquakes’ 10. They had a 9-1 edge in corners and a 21-9 advantage in crosses. Seattle boasted 64 percent of the possession in the second half, and 38,909 fans showed up to the midweek match at CenturyLink Field.
Yet the scoreboard still read 1-1 at the final whistle. And the Sounders missed out on two out of a possible three points in an increasingly tight Western Conference.
“Some draws you come out feeling pretty good about it and some you feel just a bit depleted,” Seattle midfielder Andy Rose said.
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Both lineups looked that way even beforehand.
With Seattle in the midst of its run of five matches in two weeks and with a trip to rival Portland looming Sunday, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid made significant changes to the squad that lost 2-1 in Salt Lake City last Saturday.
Just four Sounders who started that match – DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Osvaldo Alonso and Kenny Cooper – did so again Wednesday. Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans were on the bench, and Gonzalo Pineda wasn’t even in the 18.
San Jose’s Yannick Djalo, the lone goal-scorer when these teams met at Levi’s Stadium at the beginning of the month, is still out injured, as is newly signed Earthquakes designated player Matias Perez Garcia and veteran defender Clarence Goodson.
Seattle survived a bright start from Earthquakes rookie Tommy Thompson to control more and more of the ball. But for all its possession, scoring opportunities didn’t begin to flow until late in the first half.
“Quality service, at key times, is letting us down,” Schmid said. “… We’re creating pressure, but we aren’t creating clean chances.”
One clean chance broke the scoreless deadlock within a minute of the halftime restart, as Martins played in Chad Barrett to score his third goal in as many matches.
The Sounders probed around the edges of the San Jose box for a second, passing from left to right and back again.
Then San Jose broke on the counter, Cordell Cato shook free on the left and Chris Wondolowski had a tap in on the back post. Suddenly, the score was even.
“Those final decisions: When we make a mistake, we get punished,” Schmid said.
Dempsey came off the bench and nearly turned a flicked pass on goal. He got a head on a long Martins cross in the final minute but could only deflect it into Jon Busch’s arms.
Earlier Wednesday night in Colorado, the L.A. Galaxy rallied from two goals down for a 4-3 victory that continued its charge up the standings. Seattle is even on points with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference and Sporting Kansas City in the Supporter’s Shield, but its games in hand have dwindled to one.
Afterward, the locker room was somber. Dempsey said he felt tired and Schmid that he considered the result a disappointment.
“San Jose treats it like a win,” Barrett said, “so we have to treat it like a loss.”