SEATTLE — July was supposed to be Sounders FC’s bounce-back month.
A favorable schedule, including a three-game homestand, was going to help correct early-season struggles, even amid a devastating run of injuries.
But yet another frustrating result came Saturday, as undermanned Seattle had to fight back just to earn a 1-1 tie against the Colorado Rapids in front of 39,196 at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders, who were coming off back-to-back road defeats, have only won one of their last five games.
“It’s disappointing, but you have to just roll up your sleeves and keep working,” said coach Sigi Schmid, whose team had a 17-9 advantage in shots. “It’s the same old thing — glass is half full, glass is half empty. You can be negative and positive.”
Saturday’s game had both, with improved performance and critical mistakes. The Rapids (8-7-7) capitalized on the latter to take the lead in the 60th minute.
The goal came off a Nick LaBrocca corner kick, which swung right in front of Seattle’s net. Andrew Weber, who was acquired last week on loan after Seattle’s three other goalkeepers fell to injuries, tried to punch it away but misjudged the flight of the ball and only got fingertips on it. That left Colorado defender Drew Moor there for the tap-in header, his second goal against the Sounders in as many years.
“The wind caught it a bit and I just mistimed it,” said Weber. “I think we could’ve been tighter on marking, but again, that’s my ball.”
There was confusion on the defensive assignment as well, particularly after a recent Rapids substitution left a 5-foot-8 Mauro Rosales marking the 6-foot Moor.
“A guy gets subbed in, we switch marks, and a guy that we didn’t switch to ends up scoring the goal,” said midfielder Servando Carrasco. “It’s just those little details that determine the result at the end of the day.”
The Sounders (7-7-4) equalized five minutes later through their youngest player, defender DeAndre Yedlin, ending the team’s season-worst 244-minute scoreless streak.
A wild play started when forward Lamar Neagle made a great move toward goal but slammed a left-footed shot off the right post. Yedlin was in position for a rebound, but his initial attempt was saved superbly by goalkeeper Clint Irwin. Yet the ball again came out to Yedlin and he finished a header into an open net.
The Seattle native, who will be the team’s only representative at the MLS All-Star Game next week, became the youngest Sounder to score an MLS goal (20 years, 11 days).
“I try not to pay attention to that stuff too much,” he said. “It looks good when you look back on it at the end of your career, but right now I’m just trying to push forward and do whatever I can to help the team win.”
Saturday marked the first time this season the Sounders came back to earn at least a tie after allowing the game’s first goal and extended a home unbeaten streak to seven.
But a tie was not the objective, and the Sounders pushed everyone forward in the frantic final minutes. The pressure led to a decent chance in the 89th minute, but rookie Eriq Zavaleta hit his header right to Irwin, who made the last of his six saves.
When the final whistle blew, Seattle had missed an opportunity to become the first team in MLS history to beat an opponent eight straight times. The Sounders also would have earned their first five-game home winning streak.
“It’s good to have better play and to look like a better squad, but we have to win,” said midfielder Marc Burch. “We didn’t lose, but we need three points when we’re at home. That’s what we expect.”