Stefan Frei made a key save in the 70th minute and the Sounders held on for a 1-1 draw against MLS-leading Atlanta United.
ATLANTA — Stefan Frei made a key save in the 70th minute and the 10-man Seattle Sounders held on for a 1-1 draw against MLS-leading Atlanta United on Sunday.
The game was played before the largest crowd in Major League Soccer history as 72,243 fans watched and a national audience on FOX saw the game that followed the World Cup final.
Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez’s header hit the post and Frei saved Chris McCann’s putback attempt from close range. Frei also had saves in the 85th and 87th minutes to keep the match tied.
The Sounders’ Jordan McCrary, who is from Atlanta, was sent off in the 63rd minute when he was shown his second yellow card of the match for unsporting behavior.
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Josef Martinez tied it at 1-all for Atlanta United (12-4-5) in the 48th minute. Julian Gressel’s aerial pass split a pair of Seattle defenders and Martinez looped the header over Frei, who had come off his line. It was Martinez’s league-leading 19th goal of the season.
Atlanta United still leads MLS with 41 points, but NYCFC has 40 having played one fewer game, Dallas has 38 points having played two fewer games and New York Red Bulls have 35 having played three fewer games.
Seattle (4-9-5) sits 10th in the Western Conference, a point ahead of Colorado.
Atlanta United couldn’t break though in the first half. Seattle did, thanks to help from the Video Assisted Referee and the replay system.
Franco Escobar jumped and turned his back to block a shot, which hit his arm or hand as it was tucked near his chest. The ball rolled out for a corner kick.
Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro refused to take the kick, waiting on referee Baldomero Toledo to talk to the VAR. After several seconds of conversation, Toledo signaled that he was going to watch a replay. He came back and signaled for the penalty. Escobar was given a yellow card after protesting the decision.
Lodeiro converted the penalty to give Seattle a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute. It was the second penalty Seattle won this season — tied for the third fewest in MLS. It was the fifth penalty Atlanta has conceded, tied for the third most in MLS.
Though a few of Atlanta United’s players questioned if it was penalty, coach Gerardo Martino said it was.