D.C. United could not have dreamt of a better first half. They also could not have thought of the collapse that came in the second half. Deshorn Brown, Ian Harkes, and Lloyd Sam put D.C. United up 3-0. A minute after Sam made it 3-0, the Seattle Sounders started its comeback and didn't look back.
A different D.C.
The first half got off to a rather boring start, but that would change in the eighth minute. A beautiful first touch from Patrick Nyarko allowed him to sprint past the Sounders defense and play a ball that snuck through the legs of Seattle goalkeeper Tyler Miller. There the ball met D.C.’s Deshorn Brown who calmly put the ball in the open net. CenturyLink Field went from ecstasy to silence.
Miller would redeem himself soon after when Lloyd Sam found himself with the ball in the middle of the box and fired a curling shot, but a diving Miller sent the ball out of bounds for a corner. In the ensuing corner, Kofi Opare had a point blank header that Miller once again saved.
A brilliant counter attack culminated in Sean Franklin played a cross into the box that Ian Harkes took a little touch and placed a calm shot near the far post. D.C. were winning 2-0 (yes, you read that correctly).
The black and red kept the pressure on the home side. Luciano Acosta played a through pass to Deshorn Brown whose shot, unfortunately, hit the side-netting. Soon after that Acosta found Nyarko, but his shot was easily saved by Tyler Miller.
As the first half ended, the Seattle faithful let the team know their frustration as a few boos were heard. Despite dominating possession for the first forty-five minutes, the capital club had eight shots compared to the Sounders’ two.
The Capital’s collapse
The second half started with Seattle trying to sway the momentum their way, but the black and red had other plans. Luciano Acosta found Lloyd Sam on the opposite side of the field, and Sam’s clinical finish furthered United’s lead to 3-0.
United would be quickly sent down to reality. Joevin Jones sent a pinpoint pass to Will Bruin, whose header went past D.C. keeper Travis Worra. Seattle was not done yet, as they had a glimpse of hope despite the 3-1 scoreline.
Like a pendulum, the chances went back to D.C. Taylor Kemp's cross skipped past the feet of multiple Sounders’ defenders and almost ended up being tapped in by Lloyd Sam. It seemed to be the last chance D.C. were able to create for the rest of the match.
It wouldn’t take long for Seattle to take one more step to complete the comeback. Joevin Jones had his cross met by the head of Brad Evans. CenturyLink Field erupted, and all of the sudden the pressure was pinned on D.C. United as their lead was cut to 3-2.
Seattle didn’t stop there, as they equalized thanks to Gustav Svensson getting on the end of a corner and sending his shot into the top netting. It was 3-3, and moments after Christian Roldan sent the home fans into complete bedlam and made it 4-3. Ben Olsen and United were left standing in nothing but shock.
The black and red were given some hope though when Nicolas Lodeiro was sent off for kicking out at Marcelo Sarvas. That hope, however, was never fulfilled as the match ended in Seattle coming away with the three points.
United manager Ben Olsen stated the obvious in his post match interview. “Obviously we're disappointed. When you’re up three goals, that isn’t the result we wanted.”
A little stat noting the concern for Travis Worra's performances: Worra has given up ten goals in three matches, and this match was the second consecutive time he conceded four goals.
D.C. looked like a completely different team from in the first half. They created and finished the chances they got. Seattle had no response, but the best thing that could have happened to them was regrouping at halftime.
And boy was halftime the key.
Seattle completely dominated the second half. Travis Worra’s struggles since Bill Hamid’s call up to the USMNT continue and Seattle was able to take advantage of that. Olsen noted their dominance in the second half.
“They threw the kitchen sink from the get-go and they were good. We couldn’t hold them off. We’ll build off this.”
Seattle is the first team in MLS history to come back from a three goal deficit and win in regulation.
With this win, Seattle is now in the final playoff spot in the Western conference. They will try to avenge their US Open Cup loss as they have another home game, this time they host the San Jose Earthquakes.
D.C. United remains in last place in the Eastern Conference and in the entire MLS, but they try to bounce back against at RFK Stadium against the Houston Dynamo this Saturday.