After a titillating first half Sounders FC were lifeless in the second half in their 1-0 loss t LAFC Wednesday. Winger Lou Chu found space to roam on the left flank but the final cross and or touch inside the box was missing.
Chu found exploited the right side of the LAFC defense with his speed and pace. LAFC defenders Ryan Hollingshead and Denil Maldonado struggled to keep up with Chu when he made his runs from the outside. In addition, Chu was disciplined in tracking back on defense one the Sounders lost possession
Rusnak started in a high advanced position up the pitch. With Chu creating space on the left side and Nicolas Lodeiro to his right making cutting runs upfield, Rusnak had the middle of the pitch to himself in the final third. Rusnak served as a vital outlet for Obed Vargas and Joao Paulo who were under siege due to LAFC’s high pressure.
Starting alongside Paulo Vargas was disciplined on defense by staying back and marking the ball to help alleviate pressure for Nouhou and Jackson Ragen. Vargas was patient in picking his time to make runs upfield. In the 23rd minute his cross to Ruidiaz almost resulted in a goal. Ruidiaz’s header off the Vargas pass was saved by LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy. Late in the second half when searching for the equalizer Vargas earned free kicks in the 91st and 94th minutes showing his versatility as an offensive threat.
The Peruvian marksman had several good chances to score early in the game. In the 22nd minute, his right-footed shot should have found the back of the net after a marvelous pass from Chu. Ruidiaz’s shot was right at McCarthy. One minute later his header from the center of the box was saved again by McCarthy. In all fairness the header attempt by Ruidiaz was an exquisite shot creation that showed just lethal he can be. In the 52nd minute, Ruidiaz’s right-footed shot in the center of the box was high and wide showing his inconsistency in the game.
Starting in the right midfield position Lodeiro was active on the attacking side but not very effective. Lodeiro’s strength has always been finding creative spaces and distributing the ball once the defense collapses on him. Wednesday night Lodeiro was slow to find the creative space and to make matters worse he was late in tracking back on the defensive end
It was surprising that after the six days of no games and rest the Sounders started the game flat. All week during practice head coach Brian Schmetzer talked about how the team was ready to play. Giving up a goal in the first minute is not being ready to play. On offense, the Sounders did not send enough players inside the box. Lodeiro Ruidiaz and Rusnak did not make complimentary runs to drag defenders out of the box and create space. The effort was there as it always is with the Sounders. What was missing was a killer instinct from start to finish.
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