Both could certainly do without the heart-stopping carelessness their team has played in its last two home games, fiddling with two-goal leads and in the case of Wednesday's raucous match at Qwest Field, chucking away two points.
D.C. United rallied from a 3-1 deficit to emerge from a pulsating match with a 3-3 tie during which each team put a ball into its own net and also scored a worthy candidate for Goal of the Week, if not Goal of the Year. Missing the hobbled Jaime Moreno and having lost playmaker Fred to an injury in the 21st minute, United bounced back after taking the lead to rescue points in the final minutes for the umpteenth time this season.
A header by Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall arrowed into the top corner past teammate Kasey Keller in the 87th minute to reward United's determination. The goal quickly quieted a rabid crowd of 29,104 fans, who roared in triumph for most of the second half but eventually filed out dejected and incredulous.
D.C. stunned the crowd in the 34th minute when rookie Chris Pontius put away a cross from Santino Quaranta, but four minutes later Seattle equalized with a stunner of its own. Oswaldo Alonso lined up a shot from nearly 30 yards out and ripped a rising blast that D.C. keeper Josh Wicks, at full stretch, managed to nick with his glove on its way into the top corner.
Driven on by their frenzied fans, the Sounders scored again in first-half stoppage time when a badly shanked shot by Nate Jaqua struck defender Marc Burch on the leg and instead of going wide of the near post, skipped inside the opposite upright to push Seattle a goal up at 2-1.
Just has they had done last Saturday against San Jose, Seattle increased its lead to two goals thanks to Fredy Montero. He veered his dribble inside from the right flank, deked Burch adeptly, and fired a low left-footer inside the far post. And just had the Quakes had done, United quickly got a goal back. Six minutes later, Cristian Gomez emulated Alonso with a spectacular strike from distance to spread anxiety among the multitudes.
Those fears turned out to be well-founded as Seattle flubbed a couple of chances to regain its two-goal edge as Sebastian Le Toux and substitute Steve Zakuani threatened to no avail. Pontius worked free on the left side and hit a cross that Marshall misjudged when it may have nicked off Quaranta, and his off-balance header cleanly beat his goalie.
In the lead-up to the San Jose game, the abundance of ties in the Sounders' record prompted columnists, broadcasters and some fans to voice disappointment with the team and in a few cases, with the sport itself. Roth, Carey and head coach Sigi Schmid had better brace themselves for a fresh barrage, though for entertainment value, this one had it all.
United (5-2-8) increased its lead atop the Eastern Conference and leads second-place Chicago by two points heading into its match at Colorado Saturday. The Sounders (5-3-6), third in the West and seven points behind co-leaders Houston and Chivas USA, cross the country to play at New York the same day.
June 17 in Seattle
Seattle 3, D.C. United 3. Goals: Alonso (Riley, Evans) 38, own goal (Burch) 45, Montero 63; Pontius (Quaranta) 34, Gomez 63, own goal (Marshall) 87.
Seattle - Keller, Riley, Hurtado, Marshall, Wahl, Ljungberg (King, 77), Alonso, Evans, LeToux, Montero (Zakuani, 66), Jaqua (Ianni, 85).
D.C. United - Wicks, Namoff, Jakovic, Burch, Simms, Jacobson (Gomez, 46), Wallace, Fred (N'Silu, 21), Quaranta, Emilio (Khumalo, 73), Pontius.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar.