After a tough first two games of the season, the Sounders get their first goal and first point of 2011 in a 1-1 draw last night against the Houston Dynamo after an 80th minute goal by Steve Zakuani. It wasn't the result they were looking for, but it's a result they'll take.
Houston could've and should've been reduced to 10 men early in the game when defender Hunter Freeman gave the ball away to Erik Friberg and then pulled him down just outside the penalty area. Freeman was the last man on that play, but rather than sending him off, the referee only showed him a yellow card.
The Sounders continued to pressure the Houston Dynamo backline early in the game. In the 27th minute Erik Friberg's cross found O'Brian White for a header from point-blank range and goalkeeper Tally Hall came up huge for the Dynamo, making an excellent reaction save to stop what would've been the opening goal. Hall came up big again after Kofi Sarkodie's failed clearance sent Steve Zakuani away, but his left foot shot was again denied by the Houston goalkeeper.
Despite being the better side in the first half, the Sounders found themselves down a goal. In the 42nd minute, Lovel Palmer cracked one from 30-yards out which hit the crossbar. The ball fell to Andre Hainalt, who was unable to put a shot on frame, the Sounders failed the clear and the ball fell to Geoff Cameron who unleashed a low drive, which deflected off the foot of Jeff Parke and in the back of the net and Houston headed to their locker room at the break with 1-0 lead.
In the second half, the Sounders continued to throw everybody forward. In the 65th minute, Fredy Montero gave it a go from 36-yards out, but it was easily trapped by Tally Hall. About 8 minutes later, Montero was denied again from 11-yards out. In the 79th minute, Zakuani had another golden opportunity to equalize, but he was dispossesed by his former Akron teammate Kofi Sarkodie. Will that goal ever come for the Sounders? In the 80th minute, it came.
A corner kick from Erik Friberg deflected off the knee of Bobby Boswell to the back post and Steve Zakuani tapped it in to the back of the net to break Seattle's goal-scoring drought. Two minutes later, Seattle had a chance to take the lead but Fredy Montero's shot was again saved by Tally Hall. That was just about the last big chance of the game.
Leo Gonzalez booked for diving in the penalty area, did the referee get that right?:
NOT EVEN CLOSE!! Gonzalez and Zakuani combined very well on this play, it was Andre Hainalt with the challenge. The replay shows that Hainalt clipped Gonzalez and braught him down, that should've been a penalty. That was a horrible decision by the referee.
Houston Dynamo - Geoff Cameron (unassisted) 42'
Seattle Sounders FC - Steve Zakuani (unassisted) 80'
Houston Dynamo - Hunter Freeman (caution; Tactical foul) 2'
Houston Dynamo - Lovel Palmer (caution; Reckless foul) 30'
Seattle Sounders FC - Patrick Ianni (caution; Reckless foul) 43'
Houston Dynamo - Geoff Cameron (caution; Reckless tackle) 46'
Seattle Sounders FC - Leonardo Gonzalez (caution; Simulation) 73'
Houston Dynamo - Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainalt, Hunter Freeman; Corey Ashe (Danny Cruz 85'), Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis; Will Bruin (Brian Ching 75'), Jason Garey (Cam Weaver 45')
Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller; Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leonardo Gonzalez; Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Mauro Rosales 71'), Steve Zakuani; O'Brian White (Nate Jaqua 61'), Fredy Montero