Patrick Ianni's goal may be overshadowed by complaints about the adjudicating of the match, it should not be. The moment of magic tied Seattle Sounders FC with Sporting KC in a match where both team finished a chance and both teams were inches away from a winning goal. The 1-1 draw was fair.
Seattle busted out a conventional diamond that did some unique things. Though Mauro Rosales played as a traditional center attacking mid, he drifted around with the wide midfielders tucking in behind him as a matter of practice. When he would charge up the pitch he went from conventional #10 to a forward trying to score. This change put Fredy Montero higher than usual and Eddie Johnson as high up the pitch as he's operated with Seattle. EJ in particular sprung to quickly, too often and earned four offsides. He rode the edge of that line this evening, whether the calls were fair, he kept that pressure up throughout.
The Wednesday night draw also saw Eddie Johnson with one of his more creative passes. After charging up with the ball at his feet while tightly marked he cut the ball back to the streaking Rosales. The shot was just off, but the moment and the connection showed promise for the future attack if the team sticks with the traditional diamond.
Alex Caskey and Alvaro Fernandez won't remember the goal for the draw and Ianni's impressive strike. Caskey will remember it for joining the Zombie Sounder club. In what was the clearest sign of foul play that was ratcheting up to violent play the young winger took a blow to the head. Blood on his shirt had him finish the first half without a name and number with a white band around his skull.
That was not the only violent play of the night. The chippy nature continued in the match that was clearly out of control. Eventual retaliation from Sounder Fernandez (second half sub in the CAM role) was harsh and heavy. It was a clear red and a deserved sending off. The play is almost certain to be reviewed. Alvaro has apologized over twitter and through post-game statements in the lockerroom. His action was the symptom of continued violence. The expectation should be for the Disciplinary Committee to review the match. Others may see fines or suspensions as well.
Still, the quality of refereeing didn't cause Rosales or Montero to miss their chances. The referee wasn't to blame for Caskey shooting too often from distance. Seattle's defense was better than it had been in the past. Initial thoughts are that Ianni and Jeff Parke work well together and first time Sounder starter Andrew Weber commanded the line well.
There can be no questions about effort, or spunk or attitude or whatnot was better. As home underdogs Seattle managed a draw against one of two teams that can claim to be the best in the league. They were better. They aren't yet good enough. These 90 minutes show promise of a better future, if it continues. That may not be from a diamond or from the arrow. Sigi said postgame that the shift was to face KC's 4-3-3 that could be seen again. But, what mattered is that Seattle at least drew a top team that was in form. It's small solace to a side that now goes on a long road trip and starts with a DP serving a suspension.