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Disputed penalty in final minutes gives Whitecaps a draw against Sounders

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SEATTLE (AP) — Ryan Gauld scored on a penalty kick in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time, and the Vancouver Whitecaps salvaged a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night.

Gauld’s tying goal came following a lengthy video review where referee Victor Rivas and video official Pierre-Luc Lauziere determined Seattle defender Nouhou committed a handball inside the penalty area in the 90th minute.

Gauld sent Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei the wrong direction with his left-footed shot for his fourth goal of the season. Gauld also scored against the Sounders in a 2-0 win last month.

While fans and players disputed the decision, Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said he believed the penalty was the right call, but was frustrated with the initial foul Nouhou committed that set Vancouver up with a free kick and eventually led to the handball.

“He's normally a really good one (versus) one defender ... and then coming out sliding, I can't argue with the referee on that sequence of calls,” Schmetzer said.

Seattle’s Jordan Morris scored his second of the year in the opening minutes of the match, but the Sounders were unable to complete a six-point week against their Cascadia rivals after winning in Portland last weekend.

Seattle has just one victory at home so far this season.

“It almost sums up our season so far. Work hard, put yourself in a good position, call doesn't go your way,” Frei said. “At some point it's not going to give you points. We need points. It's frustrating.”

The Sounders nearly picked up a late winner as designated player Pedro de la Vega had a shot hit the post in the final seconds of the match. De la Vega entered in the 76th minute for his first appearance since March 2 when suffered a hamstring injury against Austin FC. He also had a header hit the crossbar in the 82nd minute.

Morris’ goal came off a scramble in the penalty area in the ninth minute. Alex Roldan’s initial shot was saved by Vancouver goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka, but was pushed right toward Morris and his left-footed shot found the net. His only other goal this season came on April 6 against Montreal.

After losing its last two league matches, both on the road, the Whitecaps earned a point with the late draw. But Vancouver has not won since beating Seattle on April 20 and scored just two goals in its last five MLS games.

While Vancouver gets to go home this week, it doesn’t get much easier. After a midweek home game against Calvary FC in the Canadian Championship quarterfinals, the Whitecaps host Lionel Messi and Eastern Conference-leading Inter Miami next Saturday.

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AP MLS: https://apnews.com/hub/major-league-soccer