D.C. United Overcomes 2-Goal Deficit to Tie Seattle

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 18, 2009

SEATTLE, June 17 -- D.C. United staged another remarkable comeback Wednesday night, this time in an setting unlike any other in MLS, against a club that attacked furiously and made D.C.'s defenders look like they were on ice skates.

Faced with a two-goal deficit for just the second time this season, United scored twice in the final half-hour, capped by an 87th-minute own goal, a Seattle blunder that offset United's first-half own goal.

The stirring response produced a 3-3 draw with the expansion Sounders before 29,104 at Qwest Field and marked the fifth time that the Eastern Conference leaders (5-2-8) have scored late to steal a victory or tie. The euphoric ending was tempered by a clumsy defensive performance and another injury to a starter -- midfielder Fred, who departed in the first half.

"Overall, I was disappointed in some of the performances on our side. We gave them a lot of opportunities, and in an environment like this, you can't afford to do that," United Coach Tom Soehn said. "But again, the group was resilient and we fought back."

Christian Gómez, serving in a reserve role, scored in the 63rd minute to pull United within a goal, and in the waning moments, rookie Chris Pontius served in a cross that, after taking a slight deflection off teammate Santino Quaranta, was headed into the net by Sounders defender Tyrone Marshall.

"When you put balls in dangerous spots, good things happen," said Pontius, who had United's first goal. "We just kept battling, put ourselves in good positions and things went our way."

Said Quaranta: "I tried to head it, but it flicked off my head and kind of caught [Marshall] off guard. He would have cleared it if I would have missed it. We were fortunate."

For the most part, United labored. After Pontius's volley in the 34th minute, the Sounders (5-3-6) scored three consecutive goals and repeatedly tested goalkeeper Josh Wicks.

"We let the environment take its toll on us," Soehn said. "We still have a few inexperienced guys and with the energy Seattle brought, we backed down quite a bit."

If not for Wicks's supreme display, United might not have been within striking distance.

"Even if we are down 5-0, I think we are going to come back," Wicks said. "Our players are good enough, our team has the depth, it has the heart. I always think we have it in us."

United's comebacks have included a late two-goal uprising for a 3-2 victory at New York; two strikes in the last 13 minutes for a 2-2 tie at Western Conference co-leader Chivas USA; and added-time goals to earn home ties against New England and Toronto.

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