HOUSTON – In the last chapters of their match against the Houston Dynamo, it felt like an equalizer was coming for the Seattle Sounders. Their goal finally arrived from an unexpected source on the very last kick of the game, but it was the culmination of a redoubled effort that started after a halftime reality check, and was propelled by two key second-half subs.
As a result of Chad Marshall’s late-game heroics and the subs that made them possible, Seattle escaped Houston with a point and built on the positive momentum of last week’s 1-0 win over Montreal.
“We took the game to them in the second half,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid of the contrast between the halves. “Our movement was quicker and we were better. At halftime, I told them they didn’t come out playing like they were rested and fit.” Schmid noted that the team had a lighter-than-normal practice schedule in preparation for the trip to Houston.
Two second-half substitutes fueled the comeback. In the 63rd minute, Oalex Anderson – who has enjoyed a rapid rise to the Sounders’ first team – came on for Aaron Kovar, and had an almost immediate, disruptive effect on a second half that was a bit static.
“He has marvelous talent and marvelous speed,” Schmid said of Anderson, adding that the tactical decision to play him on the left was helpful in reconstituting the match.
“They’re both very fiery players,” Houston defender DaMarcus Beasley said of the Sounders’ subs. “They’re willing to run and put in the extra effort. It looks like they made two good decisions to put them on the field.”
Though Schmid was encouraged by what he saw in the second half, he was concerned by a first-half defense that allowed 14 shots yet somehow only let in a single goal.
“We gave them way too much space,” he said. “We didn’t get close enough to disrupt their playmaking, and they had a lot of space for their crosses and their final passes.”