Despite both sides missing key players, the Seattle Sounders and LAFC played to a typical rough and tumble 1-1 draw. The Sounders and LAFC matches have always been terse affairs since LAFC stepped into the league in 2014. The Black & Gold lead the regular-season series 4-2-1 over Seattle, while the Rave Green have knocked LAFC out of each of the last two postseasons, a home win in the First-Round last season and a road victory in the 2019 Western Conference Final. On Saturday LAFC was without Diego Rossi, Carlos Vera while the Sounders were minus Nicolas Lodeiro and Freddy Montero.
EARLY SEASON TEST
Both teams stepped into Saturday’s game undefeated and were looking to continue their winning ways. LAFC opened its 2021 season with a 2-0 win over expansion side Austin FC courtesy of goals from Corey Baird and José Cifuentes. Seattle opened the season last Friday with a 4-0 win over Minnesota United thanks to a brace from Raúl Ruidíaz and additional tallies from João Paulo and Fredy Montero. Ruidíaz earned MLSsoccer.com
COSTLY SLOW START
A sloppy lethargic start by the Rave Green ended with an inexplicable goal by LAFC less than two minutes into the game. Sounders center back Xavier Arrega fouled LAFC forward Kwadwo Opoku and the home side was awarded a free kick 19 yards out.
A mix up between Stefan Frei and Sounder players in the wall saw Eduard Atuesta’s shot slide under the feet of the Sounders defenders who had jumped up to defend the kick. Despite the disastrous start the Sounders settled down and had the run of play and won the possession battle. The Sounders inability to capitalize in the final third saw them head into the halftime break down 1-0.
SECOND HALF EQUALIZER
LAFC continued to exert its high press on the Sounders who struggled to get the ball out of their end to begin the second half. The Sounders played solid and patience defense thwarting every LAFC attack. The Rave Green’s patience paid off nine minutes into the half.
A Joao Paulo pass to the right side of the field freed up Alex Roldan who crossed the ball to Raul Rudiaz who’s shot was saved but the ball was parroted out to Brad Smith who headed the ball home for the equalizer. It was Smith’s second career goal as a senior player. The last time Smith score a goal was on January 8th, 2016 when he was playing for Liverpool of the English Premier League.
Both sides pushed up cautiously looking for the game winner with either side able to get their nose in front. The last twenty minutes of the game turned in somewhat of a foul fest with both sides unwilling to budge.
The game was an early-season matchup between two rivals who are just getting their traction. The draw is a fair result and both sides will feel good about themselves. LAFC was missing arguably its two best players and the Sounders were without their playmaker.