In a match full of chances that easily could have ended in a 4-3 victory for either club, the Seattle Sounders needed eleventh-hour heroics from their star striker Raul Ruidiaz to salvage a point against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
It wasn't only Ruidiaz in the 93rd minute, though, as Jordan Morris logged a long run all the way from midfield into the Galaxy box, receiving a pass, then dishing the ball to his right for the Peruvian striker to put into the back of the net. Pinpoint passing by nearly every member of Seattle's attack contributed to the series and eventual equalizing goal.
Wednesday's stunner in Los Angeles stood at 0-0 for much of the action, despite countless chances at goal throughout. With shots off bars and posts, plus two questionable penalty kick non-calls that could have gone to the Sounders, the absent scoreboard stood still until the 78th minute when Galaxy striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez put the game's opener past goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Needing a victory to stay in playoff contention, Los Angeles threw numbers back, aiming for the game to end 1-0. Seattle had other ideas.
With the Galaxy's post-season chances now at zero, the Sounders grabbed a point and continue to sit at third place in the Western Conference. A Decision Day match on Sunday at home against San Jose could see Seattle finishing as high as first place and as low as fourth, depending on other results around the conference.
What is clear is that the Rave Green's first playoff match will be at home. The major question is how many of their upcoming post-season matches will be at CenturyLink Field, and how many will be on the road.
Sports Radio 950 KJR's broadcast of Sunday's match against San Jose begins at 3:30 p.m.
As for Wednesday's draw, while Seattle gain a point, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer also gains knowledge of what 17-year-old midfielder Ethan Dobbelaere, who made his MLS regular season debut, can bring to the Rave Green. His eighth minute shot nearly drew a penalty kick for the Sounders, and seemingly endless hustle in the first half contributed to Seattle attacks.
However, Dobbelaere's best moment likely came on a Galaxy header-shot that right back Alex Roldan headed off the crossbar. As the ball bounced straight down, inches from crossing into the net, Dobbelaere cleared the ball off the line, protecting the scoreless draw at the time. Roldan, meanwhile, starting in place of Kelvin Leerdam, made multiple impressive plays on both the offensive and defensive sides and built more arguments for increased playing time.
Schmetzer also started a half-first-choice and half-second-choice lineup, saving minutes off the legs of Morris, Leerdam, Cristian Roldan, Joao Paulo and Yeimar Gomez Andrade, who all should star in Seattle's match on Sunday.
Regular starters Ruidiaz, Joevin Jones, who returned from a high ankle sprain Wednesday, Nicolas Lodeiro, Gustav Svensson, Nouhou, Xavier Arreaga and Stefan Frei all played from the onset in Los Angeles and could be called upon again on short rest this weekend in the crucial final game of the 2020 MLS regular season.
With huge playoff seeding implications, attention now turns to the weekend. But before that, check out highlights from the 1-1 draw against the Galaxy and listen to KJR's Postgame Show with full analysis, both below.