On the verge of their first MLS win in nine games, Sounders FC was stunned when New England rookie reserve forward Diego Fagundez banged home a header in the final 15 seconds of stoppage time to pull out a 2-2 draw on a sweltering, 88-degree Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
The Sounders (7-5-5) seemingly had the game in hand even though the Revolution put big pressure on the defense in the last final moments. As the last of four minutes extra time dwindled away, another late sub, Fernando Cardenas, looped a long cross to Fagundez, 17, who slipped between defenders Zach Scott and Marc Burch to snap a header from 10 yards out on one hop past goalie Bryan Meredith for his first goal.
The longest MLS winless streak in club history grew to eight — the last league victory was May 9 at Dallas — although the Sounders did prevail 1-0 Tuesday in San Francisco over MLS foe San Jose. But that was in U.S. Open Cup play.
The draw was especially heartbreaking because the Sounders finally shed their most troubling habit of late, an inability to recover after ceding the first goal of the game.
For the ninth time in a row, the opponent scored first when Saer Sene, in the 12th minute, took a cross from Blake Brettschneider, who moved the ball through the defense until he he drew starting goalie Andrew Weber to him. Brettschneider’s pass was at Sene’s feet from four yards out for an easy score. The Sounders demanded an offsides call, to no avail.
But Eddie Johnson rallied the Sounders with a pair of goals 13 minutes apart. In the 23rd minute, Mauro Rosales worked the ball free and lofted a perfect cross to a streaking Johnson, who was in front of the defense and knocked in a wide-open hesder.
In the 35th minute, a long cross from Rosales sailed through the pitch untouched, but Burch recovered on the near sideline and sent a big bender of a cross back to the goal, where Johnson out-leaped his more ground-bound defenders, including goalie Matt Reis, to one-hop a header into an open net.
Thereafter, it became a matter of attrition, and the Sounders seemed to have won until the two Revs subs with fresh legs connected out of nowhere.
The draw also had a cost — the Sounders lost goalie Weber in the first half with a groin injury. He limped into the break and was replaced by Meredith. In the second half, defender Osvaldo Alonso picked up his fifth yellow card of the season, meaning an automatic suspension for the Sounders’ next game Wednesday in Salt Lake. He will be the fourth Sounders starter in four consecutive MLS games to sit out a contest for misbehavior.
The Sounders played without Fredy Montero (red-card suspension) and David Estrada (broken foot).