On a steamy summer night, Vancouver seemed to have all the moves to cool off the Sounders.
The Cascadia rival, which entered Saturday’s match on a five-game losing streak, crafted two second-half goals to nearly swipe a win at Lumen Field.
But Sounders reserve Jimmy Medranda used a powerful strike in the 71st minute to help the Sounders eke out a 2-2 draw before 25,603 fans. Sounders reserve forward Fredy Montero, who played his past three MLS seasons in Vancouver, was credited with the assist.
The score for Medranda was his first for the club. The league veteran was signed in October 2020 and hasn’t had a productive season since 2018 due to multiple injuries, including his arrival in Seattle last season.
“Being out the last 11 months for many different reasons – the pandemic and injuries and things like that – it’s good to be getting back after all of this,” Medranda said, as translated from Spanish. “It’s the first year where I’ll be able to get more continuity and I’m happy to be able to score.”
Vancouver (2-6-2) almost made sure the only record that remained in Seattle was the temperature that hit 90 degrees on the field at kickoff to become what is believed to be the second-hottest match the Sounders have played at home by one degree. The Sounders’ home unbeaten streak (16), best start in franchise history (7-0-4) and not being scored on in the run of play (949 minutes) were also on the line — the last one taking a hard fall.
Sounders keeper Stefan Cleveland left his line to challenge Vancouver striker Cristian Dajome’s drive about two feet outside the penalty box. Dajome batted the ball around Cleveland, then sent a shot past MLS rookie AB Cissoko, the only Sounder left to protect the empty goal.
The score in the 49th minute was the first against Seattle in the run of play this season — a stretch of 949 minutes, which is a record since tracking the stat began in 2010.
“We all knew that this was going to happen at some point, that people were going to score from the run of play,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Cissoko did a really good job under tough circumstances. (Vancouver) played the ball behind him and Stef Cleveland has done a great job. His save at the end of the first half was an unbelievable save to keep that scoreless streak going a little bit longer. …We’ll just learn and keep moving forward because we understood a goal from the run of play was going to happen.”
Vancouver midfielder Lucas Cavallini had the go-ahead goal in the 56th minute. Sounders defender Shane O’Neill mistimed his attempt to use a header to clear the ball and Cleveland couldn’t angle a kick save, the ball rolling into the net. Dajome had the assist.
“Their goals came off two long switches, which we didn’t see much of in the first half,” Sounders midfielder Josh Atencio said. “They sprung some balls quicker than usual, which maybe caught us off guard.”
The goals and oppressive heat prompted Schmetzer to make his substitutions in the 61st minute. He brought on Montero, Medranda and Danny Leyva and switched formations to better defend Vancouver’s attack.
With Montero anchoring the midfield, the Sounders continued to create chances in the closing minutes and second-half stoppage time in efforts to recoup the match it decisively owned in the first half. Nothing connected.
“We always want to win at home,” Medranda said, as translated from Spanish. “Today was a difficult result. We’ll keep fighting.”
Raul Ruidiaz had the Sounders’ opening goal in the 40th minute. The Peruvian’s finish matched the artistry his teammates blended together to get him in position to score.
Atencio started the play with a strong tackle against midfielder Michael Baldisimo. Cristian Roldan picked up the won ball for Seattle and dribbled downfield before passing back to Atencio. The latter smartly waited inches outside of the penalty box before passing ahead to Brad Smith, the Australian providing the service to Ruidiaz.
The striker has scored in each of Seattle’s three matches since a three-week international break. Ruidiaz was called up by his Peru national team for World Cup qualifying matches but not the Copa America tournament. Peru plays Venezuela in a group-stage match Sunday.
Ruidiaz is behind Los Angeles Galaxy striker Chicharito Hernandez in MLS’s Golden Boot race. Ruidiaz has nine while Chicharito has 10.
Atencio returned to the starting lineup after suffering a quad injury earlier this season. Nouhou missed a third straight start due to an adductor strain. Smith was slotted in at left wingback after missing the start for the midweek game against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
“A tie is like a loss,” Schmetzer said. “A lot of those guys in that (Sounders) locker room, they feel in their gut, this was some points dropped at home.”
Saturday’s match marked the celebration of Pride but the Whitecaps players wore orange armbands to recognize the discovery of the Cowessess First Nation finding 751 unmarked graves at a Saskatchewan residential school site. The remains of 215 children were found at a similar residential school in British Columbia.