Just when Team America thought it had solved its offensive problems, its normally reliable defense sprung a leak. After taking a 2-0 lead over Seattle before 9,153 at RFK Stadium last night, it allowed two goals in the last three minutes and lost, 3-2, to the Sounders in a shootout.
John Bain scored both of Seattle's goals, the second coming off a scramble in front of the net with 1:18 remaining to send the game into overtime.
Team America, which has lost two straight, dropped to 2-2 and is tied for second place in the Southern Division of the North American Soccer League with 13 points. Seattle is 2-4 and second in the Western Division with 15 points.
After two scoreless, 7 1/2-minute sudden death periods, the teams lined up for the shootout. Team America goalie Arnie Mausser blocked Seattle's first two shots but was beaten to his left by Ray Evans on the third.
"He hit it pretty good," said Mausser, making his first start since injuring a rib in preseason. "He hit the ball like he was supposed to, with a curve to it, and it went right around me into the goal."
Seattle goalkeeper Joe Corrigan, who was confused by the shootout procedures in a season-opening loss to Team America, blocked all five shots tonight. The closest Team America came to scoring was on Sonny Askew's shot, which Corrigan partially deflected to the right. The ball rolled toward the right corner of the goal, but Corrigan recovered in time to kick it away.
"We were very unlucky tonight," said Team America Coach Alkis Panagoulias. "But we had some good chances, and I am satisfied with the way we played. It is a long year, and our main goal is really the international scene."
Team America's defensive collapse wasted a two-goal performance by forward Andrew Parkinson. Both goals came on redirection shots within the first seven minutes of the second half.
"The goals felt good, but when I came off the field I knew the chemistry of the game was changing," said Parkinson, who was replaced by Tony Crescitelli at 69:45. "We are not clever enough yet to know when to hold the ball and sit on a lead. It was very hard to sit on the bench and watch those goals get wasted."
Parkinson, who is on a game-by-game loan to Team America from Fort Lauderdale, made it 1-0 at 44:09 when he put Jeff Durgan's rolling free kick from the right side into the left corner of the goal. He made it 2-0 at 52:15 off a right side corner kick from Boris Bandov. Parkinson cut into the box from the left side and beat Corrigan to the near post with a diving header.
Comfortably ahead, Team America made the mistake of opening up its offense. Forwards Alan Green, Crescitelli and Askew, teammates with the Washington Diplomats in 1980, repeatedly collected long passes from the midfield for breakaways but were unable to score.
The team was further hindered at 72:35 when Green, who had five shots, was forced to leave with a leg injury. As a result, Team America played the last 17:25 with 10 men on the field.
Seattle closed to 2-1 at 87:06 when Steve Daley collected a weak clearing pass on the left side and fed Bain alone in front. Bain scored his first goal of the year despite being on the ground.
Seattle continued to press and tied with 1:18 remaining in regulation. David Bradford, a member of the 1981 Diplomats, shot from close in on the right side of the goal. The ball deflected off several players back out to Bain, who easily scored from 10 feet.