Playing their fourth game in 11 days, the Seattle Sounders went with a mix-and-match lineup of regulars and reserves Wednesday at CenturyLink Field.
But when that lineup couldn’t shake the San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid eventually sent on usual starters such as Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle.
Even they couldn’t produce the game-winner down the final hectic minutes, and the slumping Sounders settled for a 1-1 draw with the eighth-place Quakes before a crowd of 38,909.
The result moved Seattle (13-7-3) into a three-way tie atop the Major League Soccer standings, along with Sporting Kansas City and Western Conference rival Real Salt Lake. The Sounders dropped to 1-3-1 over their last five matches. San Jose moved to 6-9-7, eight points out of playoff position.
Seattle controlled the run of play from the start and seemed to become particularly dangerous in the closing minutes of the first half. Still, the teams went to the locker room scoreless.
The Sounders struck quickly in the first minutes of the second half, when Obafemi Martins rolled a pass up the middle of the field to Chad Barrett, who finished from the top of the penalty area.
San Jose drew even in the 65th minute, when former Sounder Cordell Cato jittered into the penalty area and sent a pass across to the far post, where Chris Wondolowski knocked it in.
Schmid started only four field players who played 80 or more minutes at Real Salt Lake last Saturday: defender DeAndre Yedlin and Chad Marshall, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and forward Kenny Cooper.
The Quakes also lost a key player earlier in the day, when it was announced that newly signed designated player Matias Perez Garcia had undergone knee surgery and is expected to miss four to six weeks.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old home-grown forward Tommy Thompson made his first career start for San Jose.
The Sounders return to league play at 2 p.m. Sunday with a visit to Portland.