For Seattle Sounders FC (8-5-5, 29 points), the lesson learned from Wednesday Nights stinging 3-0 loss at New York City Football Club (7-1-8, 29 points) is that a team must give maximum effort for a full ninety and then some if the said club is looking for a result. The Sounders once again trotted out a squad void of a complete starting lineup due to International call ups and a short turnaround in matches that has the team back on the pitch in just three days.
Wednesday head coach Brian Schmetzer added four new players to his starting group from the one that defeated Vancouver last Saturday at CenturyLink Field. Fresh off Copa America duty with Ecuador, Xavier Arreaga started in central defense, while Nouhou replaced Brad Smith at left fullback. Central midfielders Gustav Svensson and Danny Leyva made way for the fresh pairing of Jordy Delem and Alex Roldan.
Not excuses but what is so. The Sounders are not the only MLS team facing the depletion of players due to International calls up. What made Wednesday’s nights painful loss was not about who was not on the pitch but who was on the pitch and what they did or did not do.
Despite the squad rotations, the Sounders found themselves in a 0-0 tie at the break and all signs pointed to a positive result with just another 45 minutes to go. Head coach Brian Schmetzer made some second-half substitutions that looked good on paper but did not pan out on the field. If the Sounders were going to get a positive result they would have to play aggressive but compact soccer on both ends of the pitch.
New York City FC’s gifted line up led by forward Alexandru Mitrita and midfielder Maximiliano Moralez the MLS leaders in assists. The pairs intricate passing make it difficult to just sit back and absorb pressure and their quickness gives them a dangerous counter-attack. The Sounders second-half subs seemed to be caught between two minds on how to contain NYCFC and the results were absolutely disastrous.
Moralez went from creator to scorer when his 58th-minute strike gave the home side the 1-0 lead. The strike was Moralez’s sixth goal of 2019. Jesús Medina’s far post tap in of a Valentín Castellanos cross gave the home side an insurmountable 2-0 lead in the 77th minute. Ebenezer Ofori’s left-footed 35-yard howitzer from distance was the icing on the cake as the home side bagged it fifth consecutive MLS victory.
- With Wednesday nights result, Sounders FC remains third in the Western Conference with 29 points (8-5-5), two points shy of second-place LA Galaxy and 11 points behind Supporters’ Shield-leading LAFC.
- Seattle moves to 2-3-0 all-time against New York City FC, having earned a 1-2-0 record at Yankee Stadium since NYCFC joined MLS in 2015.
- Head Coach Brian Schmetzer rotated four new players into his starting lineup tonight from the group that defeated Vancouver 1-0 on Saturday, June 29. Xavier Arreaga came into central defense, while Nouhou replaced Brad Smith from Saturday’s match at left fullback. Central midfielders Gustav Svensson and Danny Leyva made way for the fresh pairing of Jordy Delem and Alex Roldan.
- Recent Designated Player signing Xavier Arreaga made his first appearance for the Rave Green tonight after returning from international duty with Ecuador in the 2019 Copa America. Arreaga was signed on May 7 from the Ecuadorian topflight, and the 24-year-old central defender has made three appearances for Seattle thus far (2 starts).
- Jordy Delem made his first start for Sounders FC after returning from CONCACAF Gold Cup action with Martinique. Delem has featured in 11 games for Seattle in 2019, including nine starts. His last start for the Rave Green came on June 5 at Montreal. Delem started all three Group Stage matches for his nation in this year’s Gold Cup, scoring in the 84th minute in a 3-2 loss to Mexico on June 23.
- Also returning from Gold Cup action was Sounders FC centerback Román Torres, who rejoined the squad this week in New York following Panama’s exit from CONCACAF’s continental championship. Torres was part of tonight’s 18-man group as a substitute.
- Sounders FC playmaker Nicolás Lodeiro rejoined his club this morning in New York City, returning to the squad from Copa America duty with Uruguay. Due to this morning’s arrival, Lodeiro was not in the 18-man lineup tonight, but will continue on to Columbus with the club and will be eligible for selection in this weekend’s match at Crew SC. Lodeiro’s home country went out of the South American continental championship on penalties to Peru and Sounders FC teammate Raúl Ruidíaz in the quarterfinal stage of that competition. While representing Uruguay, Lodeiro started all Group C matches for his nation, helping his side to the top of that group and scoring one goal. He leads Seattle with eight assists in 14 appearances this season.
- Justin Dhillon made his second consecutive start for Sounders FC after being officially acquired last Friday. The next day, Dhillon started and played 90 minutes against Vancouver on June 29. After signing with Tacoma Defiance on March 15, Dhillon started 10 of his 14 USL appearances, leading the club with six goals this season (including a five-match scoring streak from May 12-June 8). The 24-year-old made history on May 18 by scoring just nine seconds into a 1-1 draw with Reno 1868 FC, marking the fastest goal in USL Championship history.