The Seattle Sounders ( 16-11-5, 53 points) made sure there would be no doubt on whether they would make a consecutive 10th playoff appearance in their game against the hapless Orlando City Lions (7-20-4, 25 points) Wednesday in Orlando City.
A Kelvin Leerdam chip shot to a running Victor Rodriguez who deftly chipped the ball over a frozen Orlando goal chip gave the visitors the 1-0 lead after just three minutes of play.
Handwala Bwana’s exquisite right-footed howitzer found the back of the Orlando goal for the 2-0 lead ten minutes later and the dream starts the Sounders were seeking to spell any doubts on the outcome of the match looked to have materialized.
However, as with the best-laid plans, not all goes according to plan. While the Sounders have won 11 of their last 13 games the momentary lapses of reasoning that drugged the Rave Green into a dark hole that required a ten game win streak have not completely disappeared. The Sounders had several chances to widen their lead but for some inexplicable reason they let their foot of the brake and became downright lethargic in the attack.
The Sounders inability to bury Orlando City almost came back to haunt them when Don Dwyer pulled on back for the home side in the 57th minute after converting a right flank cross from Scott Sutter to narrow the home sides deficit to just one goal at 2-1. The goal was the club’s first since a 2-2 draw with Philadelphia on September 13. The goal was Dwyer’s 13th strike of 2018.
While the Sounders made things harder than they had to be, Seattle Midfielder Cristian Roldan was still pleased with the win.
” Yeah, like you said I think we hung on. I think we suffered a little bit and you know maybe that’s part of playing away on the road. At times we would like to dominate the game as much as possible, but it is pretty hard when you’re away from home and the other team is pressing., ” Roldan said after the game. “I think Orlando did an extremely good job in the second half. Credit to those guys but I still think we could’ve done a better job at maintaining that tempo that we had in the first half. But, like I said all that really doesn’t matter, the game would’ve been much easier if we did all those things, but we ended up winning.”
- Wednesday nights victory, Seattle clinched its 10th straight trip to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Only the LA Galaxy had previously accomplished this feat in MLS history, capturing 10 straight postseason advancements from 1996 through 2005. Seattle owns the current active postseason qualification streak, with its 10 advancements since the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2009 besting the New York Red Bulls (nine straight postseasons, including clinching a berth in 2018).
- Sounders FC is now 16-11-5 on the season, moving up to fourth place in the Western Conference courtesy of tonight’s win in Orlando. Seattle is now just three points behind second-place Sporting Kansas City and third-place Los Angeles FC.
- Dating back to the club’s loss to Sacramento Republic FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on June 6, Sounders FC has accumulated a 14-4-3 record in MLS action.
- With tonight’s result, Seattle remains unbeaten against Orlando City SC with an overall record of 3-0-1. Tonight marked the club’s first visit to Orlando City Stadium, having played just one road match previously in Central Florida, a 3-1 victory at the Citrus Bowl on August 7, 2016.
- Víctor Rodríguez recorded another goal to open tonight’s scoring, and he now has four goals in his last three games. In total, the Spaniard has eight goals and seven assists in 28 appearances (including postseason play) since signing with Seattle last summer.
- Tonight marked Handwalla Bwana’s sixth career start in his rookie campaign, his first nod in Brian Schmetzer’s lineup since May 26. The University of Washington product and Sounders FC Homegrown Player did not waste his opportunity, firing a shot from the edge of the area in the 13th minute to beat Orlando goalkeeper Adam Grinwis at his near post. The strike marked his first MLS goal since a 2-1 win at Toronto FC on May 9.
- Due to two yellow cards picked up on international duty with Martinique on October 13 against Puerto Rico, Jordy Delem continued his role in central midfield alongside Ozzie Alonso. Delem’s two cautions ruled him out of Martinique’s second CONCACAF Nations League match vs. the British Virgin Islands on October 16, paving the way for his return to the Rave Green. Delem has started and played the full 90 in each of Sounders FC’s last two matches. He last played 90 minutes in consecutive games on July 7 at New England and July 15 at Atlanta.
- Both Nicolás Lodeiro and Gustav Svensson are expected to meet their teammates ahead of the club’s next match in Houston. Lodeiro is currently returning to Seattle from Asia, where Uruguay faced both South Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, Svensson is doing the same after joining Sweden for UEFA Nations League matches versus Russia and Slovakia.
- After starting against the United States Men’s National Team tuesday night in Connecticut for Peru, forward Raúl Ruidíaz was on the bench as an unused substitute for Wednesday nights game after meeting his teammates earlirt in the day in Orlando.