For a team fighting to make up ground in the Western Conference, going down 1-0 in the ninth minute of a home match was not optimal for the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.
Nor was it optimal to only gain one point out of a match that featured multiple great scoring opportunities on both ends of the field. But Clint Dempsey's first goal of the year did salvage a point for Seattle and helped bring the club within 10 points of the red line.
The final score of 1-1, however, fails to reflect the openness and back-and-forth nature of Saturday's match. The Sounders recorded 18 shots, seven on-goal, and Chicago put forward 15 shots, also 7 on goal, as both teams relied on their keepers, Stefan Frei and Richard Sanchez, to make six saves each and keep the match even at one.
Dempsey led the team with seven shots, three on target, and his 22nd minute goal marked the 47th in MLS regular season action, tying the club record with Fredy Montero. The hope is that this first goal of the 2018 campaign will light the fuse for a team in need of an offensive boost.
Check out all the highlights from Saturday's match below.
Ultimately, the draw may be remembered for all of the missed opportunities for the Sounders. With credit to Chicago's Sanchez, who made numerous game-saving plays, midfielder Harry Shipp saw dangerous shots saved in the eighth and 63rd minutes, Victor Rodriguez barely missed a crossing shot from the edge of the box in the 60th, Cristian Roldan missed an empty-net shot in the 77th, and Dempsey had a highlight volley-shot saved in the 85th.
Frei stood on his head all evening as well, making game-saving plays of his own throughout. After a mid-air collision in the final seconds of the match, Frei needed help from Seattle trainers to leave the field. Head Coach Brian Schmetzer could not provide an update in his post-match press conference.
Shipp also suffered a minor ankle injury in the 72nd minute that forced Schmetzer to make his second substitution, but the Head Coach noted after the match that Shipp would be fine.
"Happy" is not an apt word to describe Schmetzer's emotions in his press conference as he made clear that the 1-1 result is more "two points lost" than "one point gained." Heading into a home derby against the Portland Timbers next week, who sit just about the red line with 22 points, every match is critical for Seattle to start working their way up the standings.
Watch Schmetzer's full press conference and listen to Sports Radio 950 KJR's Sounders FC Postgame Show with Jackson Felts, Pete Fewing, and Danny Jackson, below.