The Sounders may be without forward Jordan Morris for a while after he left with an apparent hamstring injury during the 1-1 draw.
Extra effort was clearly going to be needed by the Sounders to salvage their team-record unbeaten streak on a night the yellow cards were flying fast and furious.
And additional effort was what they got from defender Roman Torres late in Sunday night’s 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy. His team down a goal, Torres not only saved a ball from going out of bounds along the right side, but somehow he kicked it back toward the box where old Sounders hand Lamar Neagle was waiting.
Neagle, who had just subbed in minutes earlier, hesitated and delivered a shot along the ground that struck pay dirt just inside the far post.
“Roman’s delivered some great crosses the last couple of games,’’ Neagle said. “Which is weird, but when he gets up there he does a great job.’’
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Neagle’s goal extended his team’s unbeaten streak to 12 games on what was shaping up as a dreary night in which the Sounders also lost Jordan Morris for what could be a while to a strained hamstring.
The Sounders typically unleash the hulking Torres to wreak havoc up top whenever needing a goal late. Federal Way standout Neagle, in his fourth stint with the squad after a trade from D.C. United last month, admitted he tried to not “think too much’’ as he waited for the 85th minute pass to arrive and get his shot away.
“My whole mindset was to keep it low the entire time,’’ Neagle said. “I ended up hitting it down. The defender got a touch to it, but I just put it back across the goal.’’
And the crowd of 44,697 at CenturyLink Field was glad he did, treated to a rare memorable moment on an otherwise foul-filled night. The Galaxy had five yellow cards and committed 16 fouls while Torres got a late red card — and automatic suspension for the next game — and his teammates two yellow cards and committed a dozen fouls.
Most of the cards and fouls were delivered in the second half as the Galaxy tried desperately to make a 25th-minute goal by Gyasi Zardes stand up. Zardes had gotten a header away in the box off a cross from Romain Alessandrini that beat Stefan Frei and had the Sounders playing catch-up.
Victor Rodriguez, who got his first home start since coming over from Spain, was slammed to the turf repeatedly by the bruising Galaxy defenders. He was still one of the better Sounders playmakers throughout as they struggled to overcome the chippy play.
“We knew that the game was going to be difficult, and we knew as well that this particular team is one that always goes after us,’’ Rodriguez said through an interpreter. “We need to overcome that and continue to play. I know that as I get more familiar with MLS type of play, I’ll be more ready for these types of situations.’’
Despite the Galaxy players “going after’’ Rodriguez and his teammates, they still generated some dangerous late rushes. Rodriguez nearly helped tie it in the 79th minute with a cross in to Will Bruin, who headed the ball just wide.
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer was pleased his team’s effort never stopped on a night left back Joevin Jones sat out as punishment for recently leaving the squad without permission. The Sounders played the final minute of regulation and a whopping six minutes of stoppage time — due to all the fouls — down a man after Torres was red-carded on a questionable call for hauling down Giovani dos Santos.
“The game in the second half definitely favored L.A.,’’ Schmetzer said. “Not just because they were 1-0 up. But because the fouls were called and then the opponent that’s up 1-0 away from home absolutely takes their time on every single stoppage of play.
“It never allows your team to get into any sort of rhythm.’’
Though Schmetzer wasn’t thrilled with a third straight 1-1 draw, nor his team’s composure at times, he had no quibble with the effort. The pass by Torres on the tying goal, he said, was indicative of the extra effort put in by all players.
“It was just another sense of one of the Seattle Sounders players trying to make a play and make a difference,’’ Schmetzer said. “It was Roman on that particular play but there were a lot of guys that were trying to make plays, trying to get the game to go in our favor.’’