FRISCO, Texas – A draw might seem like a satisfying enough result for a team playing on the road with four starters missing.
But that’s not how the Seattle Sounders saw their 1-1 result with FC Dallas on Saturday at Pizza Hut Park.
They saw it as a missed opportunity.
“We should be pretty down,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “I feel a little more like we left two points here. We had a chance to get three here. We left two points on the table. These guys are professionals. They know it wasn’t a good effort.”
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It was a good effort for 45 minutes, and the Sounders seemed on their way to the full three points rather than a third consecutive draw. For those first 45 minutes, they made the Hoops look like what they were: the team with the worst record in Major League Soccer.
Seattle regularly went over, around, the through the Dallas defense and assembled quite a collection of chances. The payoff came in the 18th minute when Nate Jaqua sent a high ball into the box and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado beat goalkeeper Ray Burse to it and finished.
“(I) was paying attention to see if (I) could take advantage of the situation and (I) did,” Hurtado said through a translator. “The truth is, I just wanted to kick the ball. That’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t pay any attention to (Burse) at all; I was paying attention to the ball.”
At the time, it felt like that would be the first of several Sounders goals. But while the opportunities kept coming, the goals did not.
As the half played out, Seattle committed the twin sins of letting its opponents hang around in a game they had no business being in; and then they gave them life by surrendering a goal just before halftime.
That came in added time as the Sounders’ reworked back line blew an offside trap, and that allowed Andre Rocha to volley a Marcelo Saragosa pass past Kasey Keller.
“In the first half, it could have been four or five (goals) easily before they scored,” Seattle midfielder Steve Zakuani said. “The game should have been settled in the first half.”
In the second half, Dallas switched to a 3-5-2 alignment, which gave the Sounders more trouble.
Their frustrations seemed to build. They began knocking long balls instead of short passes. They seemed to grumble among themselves. The game changed, and suddenly it was Dallas getting the best chances.
Keller saved the point with four saves, including a couple at point blank range in the closing minutes.
The Sounders cut themselves no slack for playing with a reworked lineup.
They knew all week they would be playing without defender Steve Riley due to a red-card suspension. And they suspected they’d be without defender Nathan Sturgis, due to a tender hamstring. However, they were surprised Friday when they also lost midfielder Freddie Ljungberg to a migraine headache. And then in the 20th minute Saturday, defender Zach Scott went down with an abdominal strain.
Among the adjustments, two Sounders made their season debuts: Patrick Ianni, who started in place of Riley, and Tyson Wahl, who came on for Scott.
The end result was Seattle’s third consecutive draw, and a continued drift away from Western Division leader Chivas USA, which won again Saturday.
“Certainly it’s a point; it’s better than a loss,” Schmid said. “But we don’t want to be the inchworm, just inching forward a point at a time. We want to get a little bit more than that when we get those opportunities.”