Playing in stoppage time of their third game in nine days, the Seattle Sounders found the energy to combine on one final goal that upgraded a would-be draw into a win.
Forward Chad Barrett got his toe to a ball sent on goal by Clint Dempsey, guiding it into the net. That gave Seattle its first come-from-behind win of the year, 2-1, over the New York Red Bulls before 40,194 at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
It also was the Sounders’ sixth win in eight matches and moved them back atop the Major League Soccer standings, one point ahead of D.C. United and three ahead of Vancouver in the West.
“For our team to show the resiliency to battle back, to win it in injury time, just speaks a lot about the team’s character,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Being able to put in the effort that they put in today, I was extremely proud of them.”
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The Red Bulls (4-3-5) moved ahead in the 36th minute after one of those goals that might cause a team to think it’s just going to be one of those days.
New York was awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area, after Seattle defender Brad Evans’ hand hit a ball being headed away by teammate Chad Marshall. Then the Sounders’ defense seemed unprepared for the free kick, which went weakly into the wall but bounced up to Lloyd Sam, who knocked it in.
That marked an inglorious end to what had been an MLS-high 338-minute shutout streak by the Sounders.
“They had so many guys in front of me that I didn’t really see the ball that well,” goalkeeper Stefan Frei said. “So I just wanted to be sure I covered my side; and if he was going to beat the wall and go far side, that was going to take some skill. But we probably needed to follow up a little better. ... Oh, well. We knew we were going to get scored on at some point.”
It was the first time the Sounders had conceded a goal since May 9 at Columbus, and their first home goal conceded since March 14 against San Jose.
Seattle drew even in the 69th minute, when Marco Pappa lost defender Chris Duvall on a swerving, patient dribble in the area and then fired past goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Pappa stayed in the game until the 89th minute when he left with ankle pain — and was replaced by Barrett.
About two minutes later, Dempsey got in front of the Red Bulls’ goal and fired on frame, and Barrett was there to shepherd it in.
“As a forward, I can tell when it’s going in and when it’s not,” Barrett said. “But there’s always that chance that it might hit the post, or someone might be on the other side of me that I’m not too sure of. So I just did it to make sure we got the three points. I knew I was onside, and it was going in anyway.”
When it did, Seattle (8-3-2) ticked up to seven points from the three-game homestand. Next, they’ll head out for a Saturday date at Sporting Kansas City before returning for home games against Dallas and San Jose.
While the game was going on, the United States national team named Evans to the 22-man roster that will head to Europe for friendlies June 5 against the Netherlands and June 10 against Germany.
National team captain Dempsey was not called because his wife is due to give birth soon.
“It’s tough to fly back from Amsterdam or Dusseldorf if your wife is going to deliver,” Schmid said. “... That’s why Clint wasn’t called in. Evans, it’s great. The game that they’re playing in Holland is outside the FIFA date, but on the same token if they would have played those games within the FIFA date we would have missed him on the 13th of June (against FC Dallas), so now we miss him on the sixth (against SKC) but we have him back for the 13th. So it’s give and take.”