SEATTLE — As Seattle Sounders defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso goes, so go the Seattle Sounders. The midfield fulcrum is the side’s only outfield player to play every minute this season and has traditionally been one of Seattle’s most influential players.
Saturday night, Seattle saw the downside of a rare off-night as Alonso was directly involved in three goals. One of those three was a late second-half long-distance strike that gave the Sounders the lead. Unfortunately, the others went the way of the Vancouver Whitecaps in a 2-2 draw at Qwest Field.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle 2, Vancouver 2
“[My goal] gave us a lead for a little while, but I’m upset it didn’t end up being the [winning] goal,” Alonso said through a translator.
Alonso’s night started inauspiciously when he gave up possession of the opening kickoff. It didn’t get much better from there on out, with Alonso’s bad pass gifting Vancouver a shot on goal in the 12th minute.
After forcing a save from Joe Cannon on the other end, Alonso’s match went from bad to worse when he closed down Vancouver’s Camilo and was victimized by a quick cutback, conceding a penalty. Eric Hassli converted the penalty to give Vancouver a first half lead.
For the next 50 minutes, that mistake grew in stature as it looked as though the match would end 1-0. However, after Mauro Rosales tied the score, Alonso seized his chance for redemption.
One of the league’s most prolific shooters despite his position, the Cuban ranks in the league’s top ten in total shots. But he hadn’t found the back of the net until tonight. Off a Vancouver giveaway, he unleashed his low, hard drive and seemed destined to atone for his earlier transgression.
But it was not to be. An Alonso turnover at the other end led, at least indirectly, to Vancouver’s equalizer. He “couldn’t control” a pass from Jhon Kennedy Hurtado in the 85th minute, and Hassli took advantage of the situation, stealing in and setting himself up for his amazing volley.
“Let’s not forget that eighty minutes into the game we’re down one-nil and somehow we come back and have a chance to come back and win the thing,” said goalkeeper Kasey Keller. “That’s just frustrating – you do battle like hell to get back into the lead and then we concede so quickly after. I guess if you have to concede a goal, you concede on something like that.”
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS.