As soon as Cam Weaver touched the turf, the soccer ball was right above his head.
Suddenly, it bounced off his head and into the back of the net.
Five seconds into his professional home debut with the Seattle Sounders, the 23-year-old rookie from Kent made a difference.
Weaver, who attended Seattle University, needed every inch of his 6-foot-4 frame to score the tying goal on a header in the 77th minute as the Sounders rallied for a 1-1 tie against the Minnesota Thunder on Saturday night in front of 8,966 fans at Qwest Field.
It was Seattle's United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division home opener.
Weaver jogged onto the field and literally ran into a curling free kick by veteran midfielder Leighton O'Brien from a tough angle on the left side, nicking in his first professional goal with his curly-topped head.
"It's great to get that first touch," Weaver said. "I wanted to make the most of that first touch, which I did. I just wanted to make an impact when I came in."
The Sounders (0-1-1, 1 point) collected their first point of the season with the draw and erased the negative feeling from their 4-0 loss to open the 2006 season at Minnesota on April 23.
"The script for Weaver couldn't have been better," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. "He comes out of nowhere at Seattle U. and goes to help a good team there.
"He's one of last two or three guys I kept on my roster here."
Substitute Craig Tomlinson entered in the 65th minute and immediately made a dangerous run up the left side to the end line. Tomlinson then crossed to C.J. Klaas, who narrowly knocked a header over the crossbar at the right post.
Tomlinson made two more runs behind the Minnesota defense, forcing Thunder goalkeeper Joe Warren make a save in the 86th minute and missing an open 18-yarder high and wide in the 88th.
"We needed those two runs from Craig," Schmetzer said. "We could've scored a goal at the end. If we get one more goal, the fans erupt and go home happy, and I go home happy. Now, we're not as happy."
After the Sounders dominated a long second-half stretch on offense, Minnesota stunned the home team for a 1-0 lead when Mike Wilson nailed a 28-yard left-footed into the left corner in the 75th minute.
Sounders rookie goalkeeper Chris Eylander made six key saves.
• The Sounders put on a 25-minute pregame ceremony to celebrate their 2005 USL First Division championship and honor former longtime defender Scott Jenkins, who retired after last season. Jenkins, who played nine pro seasons in Seattle, tallied the game-winning penalty kick as the Sounders downed the Richmond Kickers 2-1 in an overtime shootout.
• The game drew the largest regular-season crowd since the Sounders beat Vancouver on July 28, 2002, in their first event at Qwest Field (then Seahawks Stadium).
SEATTLE 1, MINNESOTA 1, TIE
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Goals — Sea: 1, Weaver (O'Brien assist) 77:00.Min: 1, Wilson (un) 75:00. Shots — Minnesota 15, Seattle 15. Saves — Minnesota (Warren) 5, Seattle (Eylander) 6. Fouls — Minnesota 12, Seattle 18. Offsides — Minnesota 2, Seattle 2. Corner kicks — Minnesota 6, Seattle 7. Att — 8,966.