SEATTLE — Cristian Roldan scored his second goal of the season in the 49th minute to give Seattle the lead, but a defensive miscue late allowed Los Angeles’ Sebastian Lleget to score the equalizer in the 78th minute as the Sounders and Galaxy finished in a 1-1 tie.
Seattle was in position to get the victory in the debut of interim head coach Brian Schmetzer, taking over this week after the club and Sigi Schmid parted ways. Yet the frustrating season for the Sounders (6-12-3) continued after missing numerous chances to put the game away in the second half.
Roldan’s goal was his second of the season off an assist from Nelson Valdez. But Seattle’s defense that broke down in the closing minutes, allowing a chipped pass by Steven Gerrard to find Lletget unmarked at the back post to tap in his first goal since Aug. 23, 2015.
Seattle missed out on a needed three points in its attempt to get back into the playoff race in the Western Conference, but came away hopeful about what newly signed designated player Nicolas Lodeiro can provide. Despite arriving in Seattle on Tuesday, Lodeiro was the best player on the field. His playmaking created numerous chances for others and he nearly scored three times in the second half, his last chance a deflected shot that forced Los Angeles goalkeeper Brian Rowe to make a fingertip save.
Los Angeles defender Jelle Van Damme also saved two shots off the goal line, one in each half. Van Damme denied Clint Dempsey’s shot in the first half then raced back on stuff Jordan Morris’ shot in the 70th minute after Morris was sent free on a pass by Lodeiro and dribbled around Rowe.
The Galaxy (9-3-9) came away with a point despite playing without U.S. national team midfielder Gyasi Zardes, who missed the match with a strained chest muscle.
Seattle played its first game in franchise history without Schmid as the head coach. Schmid was appointed to navigate the franchise through its infancy beginning with its expansion season in 2009, but the relationship reached a breaking point this season with the Sounders slogging through the worst four months in club history and culminating with last Tuesday’s decision between Schmid and the club to part ways.
Schmetzer, Schmid’s top assistant from the outset, was tabbed as the interim head coach. He was the first in a week of changes for Seattle that included the signing of Lodeiro as the Sounders’ newest designated player and the return of midfielder Alvaro Fernandez for his second stint in Seattle.