Seattle Sounders FC dropped more points in a 1-1 home draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, despite moving back to the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings in Major League Soccer.
Chad Barrett’s opener was cancelled out by Chris Wondolowski, and the Sounders have now won just two of their last seven fixtures.
Clint Dempsey has been playing almost non-stop since a January loan move to Fulham, and so was granted a rest by Sigi Schmid, along with Lamar Neagle and captain Brad Evans. San Jose were also missing key men, however, including injury-hit Yannick Djalo, who bagged the winner in the last meeting.
He was replaced by full debutant Tommy Thompson, after the 19-year-old had made an impressive cameo in a friendly against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid last month. The Generation adidas star was involved in several promising early plays in the Emerald City, and Chris Wondolowski lashed wide from one of his passes.
A trademark DeAndre Yedlin burst then initiated a spell of Rave Green pressure, but that quickly fizzled out and Stefan Frei did well to keep out Thompson’s prod. Though Marco Pappa did shoot on target from distance, Jon Busch comfortably gathered.
On the stroke of half-time, the goalkeeper was finally forced into a notable stop, beating away Obafemi Martins’ thunderous drive after a smart turn, before a similar Pappa strike flew wide.
But it took less than 40 seconds of the second period for Seattle to break the deadlock. Martins played a teasing through ball for Barrett to run onto, and though Busch’s inspired form had repelled Schmid’s men in Santa Clara earlier in the year, he was helpless as the former Chicago Fire forward finished with aplomb.
A goal up, the Sounders were able to relax, and some typically magical footwork from Pappa was followed by an angled smash that just missed the far top corner. But their apparent confidence looked misplaced in the 65th minute, when the Quakes equalised.
Half-time substitute Cordell Cato ran at Yedlin, and delivered a low centre across the face of his former team’s box. The cross skipped up off the ground as it passed the desperate challenge of Andy Rose, and Wondolowski cushioned the ball into the net with his left knee.
As Thompson faded, both Neagle and Dempsey were summoned from the bench, but it was Pappa who again came closest from range. They were soon joined by Evans, and the presence of this reenergised trio made for a hectic conclusion.
A series of late corners led to nothing, but Martins’ deep dig was met by a looping Dempsey header, and Busch had to be alert to tightly clutch the United States captain’s attempt. This save ushered in the full-time whistle, and despite climbing the table, it was a result that represented another missed opportunity for the hosts.