This a good result for both sides, once you zoom out and see in the big picture. For New York, playing without their two best players, this draw will only look better on closer examination. For Seattle, while a late equalizer leaves the feeling of points lost, they’re still in-control of their Supporters’ Shield fate, a position which would have been slightly more precarious had they contrived to lose on Sunday.
But with the 1-1 result, the Sounders remain one point behind East-leading New York in the Supporters’ Shield chase, and with two games in hand, the Western Conference co-leaders remain favorites to claim their first regular season title. This weekend’s results did see Real Salt Lake pull even with them in the West, but still holding two games in hand on their Rocky Mountain foes, Seattle can only be so disappointed with the weekend’s results.
Against New York, Sigi Schmid’s team took the lead just before intermission, finally coming good on a slew of late-half chances when Brad Evans converted from the spot. But Seattle lost their edge in the second, allowing New York to hit the woodwork twice before Tim Cahill, lost in the left of the penalty area, buried a late equalizer. The right-footed curler inside Michael Gspurning’s far post gave Red Bull a well-earned point from a match few saw them winning.
That’s because Thierry Henry, with a chronic Achilles condition, was a no-go. Jamison Olave was scratched, too, his knee costing him the battle of conference leaders on Seattle’s FieldTurf surface. Though highly-debated during the week, the decision proved prescient as a unexpectedly heavy storm saw Sunday’s match played beneath a downpour. In those conditions, without their two best players, New York have to be happy with the point, even if they failed to deal a blow to Seattle.
For the Sounders, the result may be disappointing, but they didn’t lose any ground. Against a backline that had not played together before this season, the team may not be satisfied with a draw, but now seven unbeaten and with only one loss in their last 11, the Sounders continue to position themselves for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.