SEATTLE — It wasn’t the result the Seattle Sounders were looking for, but it's one they will take. At long last, the Sounders scored their first goal of the season in the 80th minute, with Steve Zakuani earning a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo.
Visiting Houston came within 10 minutes of eking out a 1-0 victory on Geoff Cameron’s opportunistic goal in the 42nd minute.
Tally Hall came up big for Houston, making six crucial saves to keep his side in the match, but after dispelling waves of Seattle attacks, the Dynamo allowed the equalizer on a poorly-defended corner kick.
Houston avoided serious trouble right out of the gate when defender Hunter Freeman pulled down Sounders winger Erik Friberg just outside the box in the third minute of the match. Freeman was the last man on the play, but was shown mercy by referee Ramon Hernandez and shown a yellow card.
The Sounders exerted high pressure on the Dynamo throughout the entire first period, spending much of their time in Houston's defensive third.
Brad Evans lashed a shot from distance in the early going that sailed just over the crossbar and Zakuani missed a challenging shot on an open net after Hall came off his line to snuff out an Evans chance.
Hall's biggest save came in the 27th minute, when he made an excellent reaction save to deny Seattle forward O'Brian White's header from point-blank range to keep Houston in the match. Hall came up big again in the 35th minute, denying Zakuani after a failed clearance from rookie defender Kofi Sarkodie.
As the half wound down, the Dyanamo took full advantage of one of their few chances of the first half. Cameron found the rebound after Lovel Palmer crashed a thunderous 30-yard bomb on the crossbar and fell to Hainalt, who was unable to squeeze off a shot. The loose ball then found its way to Cameron, who unleashed a low drive that ricocheted off the foot of a fallen Jeffe Parke and rung off the crossbar on its way to the back of the net.
In the second half, Houston did their best to hold off Seattle — who were thwarted by Hall and the Dynamo defense time and again — and hold onto their narrow lead.
In the 65th minute, Montero unleashed a hopeful 36-yard blast that Hall easily trapped. Just eight minutes later, the Colombian forward again unleashed a shot on goal, this time from 11 yards out, but was again rejected.
Zakuani might have scored in the 79th were it not for a last-second intervention from fellow Akron product Sarkodie. However, the Sounders winger finally broke through a minute later.
A corner kick from Friberg was deflected by Houston defender Bobby Boswell and, as the ball rolled in front of the goal, Zakuani streaked towards the back post to tap it in and break Seattle's goal-scoring drought.
Seattle might have pulled away with all three points, but Hall made yet another save on Montero at the near post in the 82nd minute.
Houston, now 0-1-1, next travel to Harrison, N.J., to take on Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls. Seattle, now 0-2-1, will head on over to Silicon Valley to take on 2010 Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes.
HOU -- Geoff Cameron 1 (unassisted) 42
SEA -- Steve Zakuani 1 (unassisted) 80
HOU -- Hunter Freeman (caution; Tactical Foul) 2
HOU -- Lovel Palmer (caution; Reckless Foul) 30
SEA -- Patrick Ianni (caution; Reckless Foul) 43
HOU -- Geoff Cameron (caution; Reckless Tackle) 46
SEA -- Leo Gonzalez (caution; Simulation) 73
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Hunter Freeman, Corey Ashe (Danny Cruz 85), Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis, Will Bruin (Brian Ching 75), Jason Garey (Cam Weaver 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Chabala, Alex Dixon, Eddie Robinson, Tyler Deric.
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Mauro Rosales 71), Steve Zakuani, O'Brian White (Nate Jaqua 61), Fredy Montero.
Substitutes Not Used: Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Terry Boss.
Referee: Ramon Hernandez
Referee's Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Bill Dittmar
4th Official: Daniel Fitzgerald
Weather: Cloudy and 46 degrees