SEATTLE (AP) — The last shot of the game was Scott Sutter’s only shot of the game.
But it was the only one he needed.
Sutter headed in a free kick on the final play of second-half stoppage time to lift Orlando City to a 1-1 tie with the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night.
The Lions (7-5-5) were awarded the set piece 12 yards up from the goal line outside the penalty area on the left side. Kaka drove it toward the top of the 6-yard box and Sutter headed it past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei for his first goal of the season.
“We knew it was the last run. Everyone went forward – even I went forward, which doesn’t happen too much,” said Sutter, a starting defender. “(Kaka) put in a good ball, I put my head to it, closed my eyes, and hoped that the ball went in.”
It was the second time in less than a week that Orlando City pulled out a tie late in stoppage time. Last Saturday, Matias Perez Garcia’s tally salvaged a 3-3 draw with Montreal in Florida.
“You need to be ready the whole game, whether it’s 90 minutes, 93, 94 minutes,” Sutter said. “It’s a really good trait to have on the team: Go right until the end and just make sure we don’t concede in the last minutes.”
Will Bruin scored in the 21st minute for the Sounders (5-7-5). Nicolas Lodeiro gained control of the ball just over midfield on the left side and dribbled toward the box. He sent it ahead to Bruin, who deked around Orlando City defender Jonathan Spector. From 12 yards in front, Bruin shot it under the outstretched right arm of goalkeeper Joe Benditk and into the left corner.
Bruin’s goal was his fifth of the year. But Seattle hasn’t scored more than one goal in a game since a 3-3 tie with New England on April 29 – nine games ago.
“It doesn’t feel like a loss. It is a loss,” Frei said. “We lost two points at home, simple as that. Maybe we have to be smarter and don’t give up a silly free kick. We wasted a couple precious seconds up top. . Those are little things that are going to make the difference.
“However you do it, you’ve gotta do it,” Frei added. “We don’t want to lose two points at home.”
During a five-minute stretch early in the second half, Seattle had three chances to add to its lead, only to be denied by Bendik.
The first of those was a sliding save on a run into the box by Jordan Morris in the 57th minute. Then came a block of a point-blank shot by Clint Dempsey in the 61st. Just a minute after that, Bendik made a diving hand save on another close-in attempt by Dempsey.
“The players put a lot into this game and a lot of quality,” Lions coach Kreis said. “I was kind of set to be disappointed that we would walk out of here with nothing because I felt the guys deserved something.”
Orlando City started the season by winning six of its first seven, but now has just one win in the past 10 games (1-4-5). Even so, Kreis was delighted to escape with a point.
“To continue to pick up points always helps,” he added, “because as a coach, you can get very fatigued telling the team you’re happy with the way they’re playing, but they’re not getting results.”
The Lions were without leading scorer Cyle Larin for the second straight game. Larin, with eight goals for the season, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence last Thursday. He also missed last Saturday’s 3-3 tie at home against Montreal.
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