United salvage another result
SEATTLE -- There's an air of invincibility for D.C. United, even when trailing late in matches on the road.The Eastern Conference leaders have shown propensity for digging out late results in 2009. Wednesday night at Qwest Field was no different.The Black-and-Red dug out their third significant tie or win after being tied or trailing late in those road matches, this time when an own goal in the 87th minute powered them to a 3-3 tie against Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday night.No deficit has proven to tall as D.C. United has gritted out four ties and two wins in six close contests. After Christian Gomez pulled United within one midway through the second half, a left-side cross from Chris Pontius off the head of Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall was the latest game-saver."I always think we're going to come back, even if we're down 5-0," said D.C. United goalkeeper Josh Wicks, who made eight saves and kept his club's hopes alive. "Our players are good enough. Our team has the depth. Our team has the heart."The stadium was very loud. I don't think the back line could hear me. But I always think we have it in us to come back."Wicks, who recently set himself apart as the starting goalkeeper after a battle with Louis Crayton, loves the makeup of this year's D.C. United team."It's the heart," he said. "The depth to our team. All the subs we brought in, contributed to the game. Teams may score goals on us, but this is a 90-minute plus game and you have to play to that final whistle."There's one thing our guys know, and that it's not over until it's over. Until that final whistle blows, we're going to keep pressing."That being said both Wicks and coach Tom Soehn weren't pleased with Wednesday's effort until it mattered most."I just don't think we were on our game tonight," Wicks said.D.C. United fell behind just before halftime then went two goals on a Fredy Montero goal before second-half substitute Gomez powered in a 19-yard blast in the 63rd minute to cut the gap to 3-2."Overall, I think I was disappointed in some of the performances on our side," Soehn said. "We gave [Seattle] a lot of opportunities and in an environment like this we can't afford to that."But again, the group was resilient and the guys who came in impacted the game in a big way and we fought back to get a point on the road."That fight has served the Black-and-Red well and helped secure a 2-2 tie at Chivas USA on May 16 and at 3-2 win at New York on April 26. Santino Quaranta tallied against Chivas in the 85th minute and Pontius notched the winner against the Red Bulls in added time.Pontius was a difference-maker again with a goal and the cross that led to the own goal knotted the game at 3-3."We've talked about our team chemistry all year," Pontius said. "We all like each other. We have a great locker room. When you have guys playing for each other, these things tend to happen."We just kept battling. We put ourselves in good positions and a couple shots here and there and things went our way."D.C. United came through despite poor play at times and team that seemed in awe of the raucous sellout crowd."I think we let the environment take its toll on us," Soehn said. "The energy Seattle brought, we backed down quite a bit. For me, when you look at 11 guys, you need 10 guys to have good games and I thought we were well off that. But there are certain guys I give a lot of credit to, because they fought and competed."For Josh's sake, I don't think he's at fault for any of them. I lot of their chances came directly from our mistakes."Said Pontius: "That's a loud stadium. I don't think many of us have played in front of anything like that. I know I haven't. It's something we had to adjust to. We came out in the second half and calmed down a little bit."And salvaged another result.Matt Massey is a contributor to MLSnet.com.