Even Sounders FC marvels at tying goal by Vancouver's Eric Hassli
Goal in 85th minute that tied score at 2 leaves Seattle stunned and impressed.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders FC @ Toronto,
4 p.m., KONG
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The comeback was complete.
Despite conceding an early penalty-kick goal to Vancouver, Sounders FC fought back Saturday through late goals by Mauro Rosales and Osvaldo Alonso to take a lead in the 84th minute.
Enter Eric Hassli.
The Whitecaps FC designated player collected an untimely Seattle turnover — when Alonso couldn't control a pass from defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — and produced a moment of pure magic in the 85th minute. First, the 6-foot-4 Hassli flicked the ball up to himself while drifting away from Kasey Keller's goal, and then he unleashed an audacious volley from the corner of the penalty box that sailed over Keller and ricocheted off the far post and in.
The candidate for MLS Goal of the Year was the deciding moment in a 2-2 tie between Seattle and Vancouver at Qwest Field, and the talk of both locker rooms.
"I could give him that shot probably another 99 times and I don't know if he's going to score it, but he did (Saturday)," Keller said to reporters. "Sometimes you've just got to shake somebody's hand and say, 'Hey, that's a hell of a goal.' "
"Magnificent," said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid.
"What a goal," added Rosales. "Unbelievable."
Hassli had also scored earlier in the game, converting Vancouver's PK with a clever chip. So how did he remember the unforgettable play later on?
"I closed my eyes and shot; I had a lot of luck there," the 30-year-old Frenchman said, calling it likely the best goal in his career.
On the other end, many Sounders were left ruing the blown lead — particularly the preventable turnover that set up Hassli's chance.
"It should have never happened. That's the bottom line. Period," said Seattle midfielder Brad Evans of the goal. "Regardless of quality, it's something that never should have happened. Simple as that."
First goals for two
Goals by Rosales and Alonso were the first of the season for each midfielder.
"I am very happy because it was the first one and in Qwest Field," said Rosales, whose 81st-minute strike tied the score at 1-1. "... It was very good for the team to make a step to win the game."
Alonso scored three minutes later to give the Sounders the short-lived lead.
"I'm unhappy that it did not end up being the (winning) goal," he said through a translator.
• Schmid was visibly frustrated with referee Mark Geiger throughout the match, particularly after a denied penalty-kick appeal in the 44th minute. After the game, Schmid said Geiger was "afraid to talk to me."
"Twice, both at halftime and at the end of the game, he knew I wanted to talk to him and he just walked away," said the coach, "so obviously he must have felt bad."
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
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