Andreas Ivanschitz changed the game when he entered at halftime for the injured Brad Evans. The Austrian's set-piece service created Obafemi Martins 12th goal of the year. That 82nd minute goal earned Seattle Sounders FC a road point and keeps the San Jose Earthquakes out of the Playoffs. Seattle is still fourth in the West and now seventh in the Shield race.
Brian Schmetzer's side needed the late goal since they gave up another set-piece goal. Fatai Alashe whipped in a header off service from Matías Pérez García. Lamar Neagle lost Alashe on the curling run. Stefan Frei couldn't stop the shot.
With the point the Sounders now have 10 points in their last five played, matching the Galaxy who drew at home to Montreal. San Jose also has that same streak. New England has not lost in their last five.
Seattle may be entering another rough period. The injuries in this match meant that Schmetzer did not have tactical options for substitutes.
Román Torres went down just prior to the first half with a left knee injury. Zach Scott replaced him. Brad Evans did not return to the field after halftime. Evans took a ball to the face and this is likely why he did continue. Ivanschitz came on for the captain. Scott took the band.
After taking a weak shot wide of the near post Nelson Haedo Valdez signaled that he needed a replacement. His calf took another kick during the match. Lamar Neagle played from the 59th minute on.
Neagle will want a moment back, as Ivanschitz picked him out on his first ever free kick. The header Lamar took was about three feet wide.
Health reports will come with more time.
- Set-piece defense is woeful. It's not just Lamar, but Lamar is a reason lately. He needs to not be on a target. Whether that means guarding a post, or in the wall, or in a zone I don't know. He can't be a marker of a target.
- Set-piece offense has been poor all year. With this many targets the team should be at 2014's level in success. Ivanschitz should go a long way to improving this, if he can get minutes in the crowded XI.
- Obafemi Martins is hot right now. He has five goals in his last five games. There are few players in this league as good as Oba. Seattle has one of the other ones. If they can unleash both at the same time anything can happen.