The Seattle Sounders (9-9-5, 32points) won their fifth consecutive game with a gritty 2-1 win over FC Dallas 912-5-6, 42 points) Sunday night at CenturyLink Field in front of 39,522 green-clad fans who on hand to watch the Wild West showdown and the debut of newly signed fullback Brad Smith.
Sundays matchup showcased Western Conference leaders FC Dallas and the red-hot Sounders who were once again making an improbable late-season run to make the playoffs half a bad start. The victory by the Sounders tied the franchise mark for most consecutive games won in a season. The Sounders are eight in the Western Conferecen standings, three points out of the sixth and final playoff position.
In 2016 the Sounders fired head coach Sigi Schmid half way thru the season replaced him with Brian Schmetzer and went on to win the MLS Cup. In 2017 the Sounders overcome a horrendous start and returned to the MLS Cup title game but lost to Toronto FC who got revenge for the 2016 loss. On Sunday Schmetzer was quick to point out that this years team was made up of professionals who are full of pride and were tired of losing as the main reseason for the clubs ascend up the standings.
On Sunday the Sounders started the game the way they have the last seven games, on the front foot with purpose, determination for the first 20 minutes, and nothing to show for their efforts. That determined effort is usually followed by a ten to fifteen-minute spell of sub-par soccer. Sounders Center back Chad Marshall gave the home side the lead right before halftime and it looked like the Sounders were on the way to an eighth consecutive win. Looks can be decieving as the Sounders stayed on script.
FC Dallas midfielder Dominique Badji’s equalizer in the 51st minute quieted the stadium as the visitors began to take control of the game and brought doubt to the mind of the home fans. Rather than absorb the pressure, the Sounders flipped the script on the visitors by pushing the ball upfield with urgency and purpose as they had doen in the first twnety minutes of the game. The switch to an uptempo attacking style resulted in bizzare game-winning goal Nicolas Lodeiro.
Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan was fouled in the 61st and Seattle was awarded a free kick about thirty yards from goal. Lodeiro kicked the ball and the ball passed through several players untouched and ended in the back of the Dallas goal for the game winner.
“I thought the first 20 to 25 minutes of this game, we were really good. Then there was that little 10-minute spell where we gave a couple of balls away. Look, it’s MLS, you’re going to have ebbs and flows of momentum,” said Schmetzer after the game.
Schmetzer was also pleased by the play of newly signed left back Brad Smith who made his Sounders debut after joinig the team on August 8th.
“It was pretty good. You guys saw what Garth [Lagerwey], Chris [Henderson], and those guys saw. He’s got good speed, good crossing ability. [He is an] attack-minded player. I thought, overall, he was enthusiastic to play, ” Said Schmetzer.
“He hadn’t played a lot of games in the last few years, so you could kind of tell in his play, he was happy to be on the pitch. So, we were overall very pleased. We’ll watch the film to try and get him acclimated a little bit more with the players that he’s playing with. We’ll try to educate him about MLS, the standards there. There were a couple of times where he was complaining about the refereeing. But, we’ll get him up to speed, and he was very good.”
The game ended in a bit of a melee when FC Dallas player Reto Ziegler was issued a red card in stoppage for a foul on the Sounders Lodeiro. The Sounders were trying to run out the clock as several FC Dallas players committed fouls escalating tempers that erupted after the game as players and coaches from both teams had to be seprated after the game. In the end cooler heads prevailed and the Sounders walked away with a fifth consecuttive victory.