SEATTLE — A tie may not have been the Seattle Sounders’ desired result, but that they even earned a point was due in no small part to a pair of players new to the starting lineup.
Center back Patrick Ianni supplied the Sounders’ lone goal in his first appearance since May 5 and goalkeeper Andrew Weber was credited with four saves in his first start of the season as the Sounders were forced to settle for a 1-1 tie against visiting Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday. The draw ran the Sounders’ winless streak to six games, which tied a franchise worst for them.
As frustrating as the result may have been, no one could hide a smile when talking about Ianni’s goal.
“It was amazing,” said Sounders midfielder Mauro Rosales, who picked up the assist. “It was the same goal like Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s. I think he didn’t want to be less than him.”
Full Highlights: SEA 1, SKC 1
While Ianni’s strike won’t get as much attention as Ibrahimovic’s goal for Sweden against France in the European Championship on Tuesday, they were remarkably similar.
Rosales sent a free kick from the top of the penalty area that found Ianni essentially all alone about eight yards out. While falling away from the goal, Ianni managed to get full force behind his volley to easily beat Sporting KC 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen.
When asked if it was the best goal he ever scored, Ianni let out a big grin.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “Best goal in practice, games since I was born, yeah.”
That Ianni's early Goal of the Year candidate proved to be enough to salvage a tie was due in no small part to Weber. While an injury kept him from replacing Michael Gspurning sooner, Weber mostly took advantage of his opportunity. The only goal he allowed was somewhat unlucky, as Jacob Peterson’s shot took a deflection off Osvaldo Alonso.
Other than that, he commanded the penalty area and came up with saves when needed, the biggest on a 70th-minute diving save on the goal line.
“I just reacted and was there to get my hands on it,” Weber said, indicating he thought the shot actually came off teammate Eddie Johnson’s face.
Weber said he found out he had a strong sense he would be starting when Sounders coaches told him to be ready following the team's 4-1 loss to the Montreal Impact on Saturday.
Weber is hopeful he did enough to earn another start and Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid seemed to suggest that was definitely a possibility. Either way, the Sounders 'keeper thought there were definite positive to take away both personally and from a team perspective.
“I thought we dominated,” Weber said. “I think we can build on it. There’s still plenty of games left to get plenty of points. If we build on this and we go to Portland and take care of business, we’re where we want to be. Sigi always says you don’t want to lose two in a row and we didn’t do that. We got a point out of this and we can build on that.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.