Seattle Sounders Narrowly Escape Houston Dynamo With 1-1 Draw In Crucial Match
Photo via Seattle Sounders FC

Seattle Sounders Narrowly Escape Houston Dynamo With 1-1 Draw In Crucial Match

An unenthusiastic performance by the Rave Green prolongs the clinching of Seattle's playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Zach Drapkin

HOUSTON, Tx. -- The Seattle Sounders didn't seem to realize they could have clinched a playoff berth Sunday night at the Houston Dynamo.

So the wait for certainty goes on.

The Rave Green managed to salvage a point in this brutal away affair in which an 82nd-minute Obafemi Martins headed tap-in equalized the match at a final score of 2-2.

Ricardo Clark had taken the original Dynamo lead in the 65th minute, receiving a pass at the top of the box on a transition play and slashing a screaming ground shot past keeper Stefan Frei and into the bottom-left corner.

In what was an evidently crucial match for playoff position, the performance put on by the two sides on national television and a miniscule live crowd had not much to show for it.

A scoreless first 45 saw the Dynamo take an easy advantage, ripping a few balls in Frei's area to give Seattle a scare. 

Close Chances But No Cigar In First 45

Will Bruin received the first major chance for Houston, capitalizing of sloppy midfield passing by the Sounders and dribbling hard down the right wing. Bruin whipped in a shot near post which was saved well by Seattle's keeper.

Seattle got a pretty decent chance of their own in the 17th minute, as Brad Evans assisted Oba Martins into the box with a fantastic feed which was steered just wide left under the grasp of Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric. Evans made his phenomenal run all the way from the right side of midfield to just outside top-center box.

Gonzalo Pineda picked up a yellow card before half time due to his yapping at the officials in the 40th minute.

Wake-Up Calls In Second Half Lead To Self-Cancelling Goals

Clint Dempsey and Erik Friberg pulled off a nifty 1-2 off a 48th-minute throw-in for Seattle but Deric made one of his multiple phenomenal saves on the evening to deny Dempsey of the match's first score.

A yellow card was handed to Sounders FC's Andreas Ivanschitz and as a result Rico Clark drew a free kick for teammate Brad Davis. However, Davis's curling chance on the resulting set piece was nicely corralled by Frei.

Houston broke through the lackadaisical Sounders finally 65 minutes in, as Clark slotted a wide-open ball atop the box right past the Seattle keeper and into the bottom-left corner to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

Luis Garrido had picked a yellow just a minute before for the Dynamo.

Seattle got their share of chances in the aftermath of Houston's go-ahead banger but could not connect on their best opportunities around the penalty area until the 82nd.

Ivanschitz fired a corner cross through a maze of defenders in the box, and Martins found his way to the whizzer, just barely getting his head on it to send it over the line and in to equalize for Sounders FC.

In a last ditch effort in the 89th, Ivanschitz knocked a free kick on to Dempsey on his side, who whipped in a curler between the wall at the left side of the net. The shot deflected course after colliding with Rico Clark, yet Deric was equal to the task of the shot and made a superb save on the final major attempt of the day for either side.

The Dynamo's playoff hopes are now officially gone with the non-victory, while Seattle must earn a victory versus Real Salt Lake next week or receive help from other teams to qualify for the postseason, where they'll get a fresh slate to prove themselves as reigning Supporters' Shield winners.