For Brian Schmetzer and his Seattle Sounders soccer team (1-3-1, 4points) the adage of two out of three isn’t so bad was the best way to describe the Sounders instant takeaways after the clubs 3-1 win over Minnesota United ((2-5-0, 6) Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field in front of 39,477 fans and a national television audience.
In Sundays win the Sounders showed that they can score goals, finish a game with the same numbers of players they started the game with. Major improvement for a team that had earned its first point of the season in the previous weeks 2-2 draw at Sporting Kansas City. A game the Sounders had in hand and let slip away by giving up a Graham Zusi goal in the 78th minute that saw three points dwindle to one. The troubling trend for the Seattle Sounders is their inability to concentrate for a full 90 minutes. Good efforts that a dogged by momentary lapses of reasoning.
Yes, the Sounders scored three goals, yes, the Sounders finished the game with eleven players and yes, the Sounders won the game. A case and fair at that can be made that the Sounders are still not playing focused and determined soccer from start to finish.
On Sunday, the Sounders played their best 25 minutes of soccer the season that was followed by 65 minutes of unimaginative soccer that was then followed by three minutes of brilliant soccer in stoppage time.
A wonder goal by Gustav Svensson in the 23rd minute brought delight, celebration, and adulation to Rave Green Nation. Will Bruin’s left-footed sitter two minutes later gave the Sounders a 2-0 after just 25 minutes and turned CenturyLink Field into a block party.
The Sounders pulled their foot off the gas pedal and the result was some uninspired soccer by the home side that morphed into lackadaisical play and was turned into an instant buzz in kill in the 63rd minute when Minnesota forward Christian Ramirez’s header beat Seattle netminder Stefan Frei to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Clint Dempsey played super sub when he entered the game in stoppage time and fed a slide rule pass to Jordy Delam that produced Seattle’s third goal and killed the game for the home side and brought the celebratory gyrations back to the CenturyLink Field.
While it was a much needed win, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer was not completely pleased with his teams inability to play a full 90 minutes.
“Yeah, slowly but surely. We thought the team was capable of winning games early. We put ourselves in a hole with the specific circumstances behind the reasons why we lost the first three league matches. So, those were actually addressable. You could say, ‘OK, this is a big part of the reason why we lost those games.’ So, the last two games where we’ve kept everybody on the field, we’ve been competitive. I think that has something to do with it.”
- Sounders FC is now 3-0-0 against Minnesota United FC in MLS play, with a 9-2 goal advantage.
- Will Bruin scored his second goal in as many games when he found the back of the net in the 25th minute. The eighth-year MLS veteran now has 63 career goals, tied with Dominic Oduro for seventh among active MLS players.
- Cristian Roldan provided the service on both of Seattle’s first-half strikes for his first two assists of the 2018 season. The fourth-year pro now has 11 goals and nine assists in 93 career regular-season appearances.
- Jordy Delem scored his first MLS goal with a late strike on an assist from Clint Dempsey. Delem entered the match as a substitute in the second minute of second-half stoppage time for Will Bruin, then combined with Dempsey on a counterattack to find the net for his first goal in 16 career MLS appearances.
- Osvaldo Alonso made his first start of the 2018 campaign, logging 75 minutes in central midfield alongside Gustav Svensson. Sounders FC’s all-time leader in games played, starts and minutes made his season debut last weekend with a substitute appearance at Sporting Kansas City.
- Kelvin Leerdam and Clint Dempsey each returned to the pitch on Sunday after serving one and two-match red card suspensions, respectively. Leerdam slotted in at his normal right fullback spot, while Dempsey came off the bench to log 30 minutes and record an assist on Delem’s goal in second-half stoppage time. It marked the first assist of the season for Dempsey and 42nd career assist in regular-season play, tied for 10th among active players.