SEATTLE (AP)Jimmy Medranda scored his first goal in three years midway through the second half, and the Seattle Sounders extended their unbeaten streak to 11 matches with a 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
The Sounders (7-0-4) moved within a game of the MLS record for the longest season-opening unbeaten streak held by the Los Angeles Galaxy (1996, 2010), Kansas City (2000) and Real Salt Lake (2014).
”What I complimented the team after the game was they never quit,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said. ”A lot of teams in MLS, they go down and you end up losing all the points. … We were fighting. We were going for all three (points).”
Playing on a steamy night in Seattle with record temperatures that reached 102 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the Whitecaps took a 2-1 lead scoring twice in six minutes early in the second half on a pair of defensive errors by Seattle.
Medranda was an unlikely candidate to score the equalizer with his last MLS goal coming in 2018 playing for Sporting Kansas City. But he was in the right spot to collect the rebound off a corner kick and drive a shot past Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau in the 71st minute to draw Seattle even.
Medranda played just three matches last season between Seattle and Nashville.
”It was a tough 11 months being out because of many different reasons: the pandemic, injuries and things like that,” Medranda said through an interpreter. ”This is good to be getting back after all this. This is the first year I’ll be able to get some more continuity and happy to be able to score.”
Raul Ruidiaz scored his ninth goal of the season in the first half for Seattle, capping a precision counter attack started by Josh Atencio. Ruidiaz and Fredy Montero both had excellent scoring chances in the second half but couldn’t find a winner for the Sounders.
Cristian Dajome scored in the opening moments of the second half off an error from Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland and Lucas Cavallini gave Vancouver (2-6-2) the lead six minutes later. The Whitecaps had lost five straight and earned a point for the first time since their May 8 win over Montreal.
”We have to take this game (and) grow. It was an environment that is extremely difficult, against a very good team that fought a lot,” Vancouver coach Marc Dos Santos said.
Seattle had not allowed a goal during the open run of play through the first 10 games. Seattle’s five goals allowed in the first 10 games all came from penalty kicks (three) or direct free kicks (two).
The streak nearly ended in the dying seconds of the first half when a bad turnover by Alex Roldan led to a chance for Deiber Caicedo, but his shot was kicked aside by Cleveland.
The streak finally ended at 949 minutes for Seattle after Cleveland was caught out of his net and Dajome scored his fourth goal of the season.
”We’ll just learn and keep moving forward because we understood that a goal from the run of play was going to happen,” Schmetzer said.
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