SEATTLE — Tim Cahill scored a late equalizer to salvage a point for the New York Red Bulls and keep them atop the Supporters' Shield race with a 1-1 tie against the Seattle Sounders at a rain-soaked CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
The Sounders dominated large portions of the match but proved wasteful with their many opportunities, only having a Brad Evans penalty kick to show for their efforts.
Missing Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave and playing in a steady rain and strong winds, the Red Bulls were mostly content to defend and counter, and they got their point from Cahill's curling strike in the 76th minute.
On the equalizing goal, the Sounders missed several chances to clear the ball away before Cahill found himself an open look from about 12 yards out. The Australian – wearing the captain's armband in Henry's absence – buried his shot in the side netting.
Though they moved into a tie with Real Salt Lake atop the Western Conference, the Sounders will likely be cursing their inability to take greater advantage after bossing a first half in which they had 64 percent of possession and outshot the Red Bulls 10-3. But for all that domination, they had nothing to show for it until the 44th minute.
That's when Evans hit a cross that struck the hand of Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson inside the New York penalty box. Evans, as he has in each of his previous six attempts, buried the spot kick despite goalkeeper Luis Robles guessing correctly.
The goal ended a 296-minute shutout streak for the Red Bulls, the eighth longest in MLS this season. It allowed the Sounders to go into halftime with the lead, even after missing several strong opportunities.
Among them was a left-footed shot that Evans hit just inches wide from about 20 yards out. Eddie Johnson also just missed a header off a set piece and later forced Robles into a diving save.
The Sounders' best chance, though, came off the head of Obafemi Martins in the 41st minute after Robles was outraced by Johnson as he roamed way off his line in pursuit of a long pass from Lamar Neagle. Johnson found Martins all alone in front of the empty net, but his glancing header whistled just wide of the far post.
Seattle also had a golden chance to add an insurance goal in the second half. Johnson raced out on a breakaway with just one defender to beat, but did not pass to Martins he streaked toward goal unmarked and the opportunity went begging.
The missed chance proved costly, as Cahill found the equalizer seven minutes later.
The Red Bulls nearly took advantage of some loose passing in the match's 1st minute, when Jonny Steele stepped in front of an Osvaldo Alonso pass and forced Gspurning into a diving save.
They nearly capitalized on two set pieces shortly after the hour mark. First Holgersson nearly saw his set-piece header bang off the crossbar, and moments later Evans nearly scored an own goal off a New York corner kick but the ball ricocheted off the far post.
The Sounders' hopes for the Supporters' Shield took a hit with the draw, but they remain just one point behind the Red Bulls with two games in hand. They also ran their unbeaten streak to seven games.
The Red Bulls had their four-game winning streak snapped, but extended their unbeaten run to five games.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Brad Evans||He drew, then finished the PK and was hard-working and inventive from box to box.|
|2||Tim Cahill||Clutch, committed, inspiring: The Aussie was just what RBNY needed on a demanding night.|
|3||Ibrahim Sekagya||It wasn't always pretty, but the Ugandan was a very effective stand-in for Jamison Olave.|