It was an ugly game. A game in torrential downpour and wind, where neither team played at their best. The Philadelphia Union took advantage of a free kick, and Carlos Ruiz put it on goal. Kasey Keller was moving the other way and still got his fingers on the ball, but not enough. Ruiz will still be hated by the Seattle faithful.
Sigi Schmid tried something different in his substitutions. First he used a double sub to bring on one of his DPs in Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua switching Seattle to a 3-4-3 with Zakuani of course high. This sparked the offense, but it was when Designated Player #2 came on the pitch that things shifted even more in the attack. Alvaro Fernandez, Montero and Mauro Rosales worked the ball around the pitch with shorter passes and through balls, using Jaqua as a pivot and target.
Offensive play opened up and El Flaco put a brilliant shot on goal that was stopped by the chest of Danny Califf.
A few minutes later, Seattle again put the ball in the mix and this time it was CONMEBOL magic as Montero popped the ball up and over for Alvaro to put a head on and score in extra time for a draw that feels like a win.
Overall the Sounders played sloppy, as much due to conditions as to individual play. The weakest players were Leo Gonzalez and Erik Friberg, with Brad Evans muffing a half-volley that prevented an unfair 2-1 win. Sigi has options, and today one of those showed that he is not a sunk cost, but someone who can make a difference. If competition breeds better overall play, and if depth is an asset the Sounders are in a much better place than Nowak's Philadelphia Union.
In a few hours we'll have the quotes, stats, highlights and WPA chart.