Yes, it really happened, no it wasn’t a crazy fever dream. The Seattle Sounders went down 3-0 to DC United at home, only to score four straight goals in 28 minutes for the improbable comeback victory. That sets a new record in MLS as the only team to ever win in regulation after coming back from three goals down.
There will be plenty of questions about what went wrong with the team that took the field to start the match after a truly disastrous first half, but the energy and attacking urgency shown to finish off the game will give fans hope that the Sounders simply came out slow and rusty after a long international break.
Seattle are now 7-7-6, -2 on goal difference, through 20 games played. That’s good for 1.35 PPG and 6th in the Western Conference, though the Sounders are currently tied with their two Cascadia rivals at 27 points, separated only by tiebreakers.
Seattle Sounders FC 4 - D.C. United 3
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Venue: CenturyLink Field
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistants: Mike Rottersman, Ian Anderson
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow
Weather: 74 degrees and sunny
DC - Deshorn Brown (Patrick Nyarko) 8'
DC - Ian Harkes (Sean Franklin) 27'
DC - Lloyd Sam (Luciano Acosta) 50'
SEA - Will Bruin (Joevin Jones) 51'
SEA - Brad Evans (Joevin Jones, Nouhou) 62'
SEA - Gustav Svensson (Nicolás Lodeiro) 74'
SEA - Cristian Roldan (Will Bruin) 78'
DC - Marcelo Sarvas (caution) 33'
SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (ejection) 89'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Tyler Miller; Brad Evans (Jordy Delem 70'), Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan, Aaron Kovar (Kelvin Leerdam 54'), Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Harry Shipp (Nouhou 54'); Will Bruin
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Seyi Adekoya, Tony Alfaro, Zach Mathers
Total shots: 15 (Kovar/Roldan, 3)
Shots on goal: 5 (Bruin, 2)
Fouls: 12 (Bruin, 3)
Offside: 1 (Lodeiro, 1)
Corner-kicks: 7 (Lodeiro, 6)
Saves: 5 (Miller, 5)
D.C. United - Travis Worra; Taylor Kemp, Sean Franklin, Kofi Opare, Steve Birnbaum - captain; Marcelo Sarvas, Lloyd Sam (Sébastien Le Toux 87'), Luciano Acosta, Patrick Nyarko, Ian Harkes; Deshorn Brown (Lamar Neagle 73')
Substitutes not used: Eric Klenofsky, Nick DeLeon, Chris Korb, Jared Jeffrey, Bobby Boswell
Total shots: 12 (Brown, 4)
Shots on goal: 8 (Sam/Brown, 2)
Fouls: 14 (Sarvas, 4)
Corner-kicks: 4 (Sam, 4)
Saves: 1 (Worra, 1)
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER
On your emotions as a coach following a match like this:
“The emotion now is one of relief. The first thing that popped into my head as the game was progressing and after the game was what do we do as a staff, how did we manage the group in training with the little mini-break that we had. So, the first emotion was just reflection. What could we have done better? Relief that we won. We made some plays. The second one was that I was very proud of the guys. That was my second emotion. The guys never quit. We have witnessed a lot with this franchise over the years and in my time here, the game down in Portland, the win in LA, some of those moments that are just indicative of this team never ever giving up, that is what makes me proud to be part of this franchise.”
On the different styles in each half and how that changed the game:
“This game and the stats were irrelevant. It’s a crazy game. You look at the first half and we pass the ball a lot, but where were the passes? Back, square, negative – it just wasn't working. Second half, the guys were driving the ball forward to get into the game. The stats match just how the game was played. I wouldn't put much into this game statistically. I think it’s just more again on the mindset of the group, being able to persevere. All the passing stats, goals and assists isn’t the real storyline of the game.”
On bringing in Nouhou and Kelvin Leerdam:
“Well Kelvin is a talented player and you guys saw what he can bring. We just needed to get more attacking movement up the field. Nouhou we have seen before. I think he and Joevin on that left-hand side make a pretty potent combination. I was just basically trying to get some energy and some more dynamic, I would say, attacking movement out wide. They were defending inside out. They had the lead, they were protecting their goal. So, we needed to do something out on the wing channels to break them down and I think both Nouhou and Kelvin helped us do that.”
On Tyler Miller playing tonight:
“I’m not worried about his play…because he is a tough kid. He has the right mindset. All goalkeepers have that mindset that they have to move forward. When they make mistakes it usually ends up right. So they have to have a strong mindset. Now in defense of Tyler, I’m not so sure those goals are his fault. I would say those are team goals, so I don’t think I will watch the tape and be overly critical. Yeah, we will use it as a learning moment, ‘What could he have done?’ But I’m not really concerned about that. Tommy [Dutra] does a great job with him and he will be fine.”
SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER KELVIN LEERDAM
On his debut:
“You play a game three goals down and still win – I heard that’s the first time that a team has done it [in MLS], so it’s great for us. I hope the next game will be a little bit easier.”
On if he was hopeful he would play:
“I was confident because the people told me that everything was going to be alright. I was confident – I had no worries.”
On entering the pitch for the first time at CenturyLink Field:
“I am always excited if it is about soccer, it’s what I like to do. When I came in I felt the support of the fans. They were screaming and they were supporting us even though we were three goals down. It was a good day for us, but it was a better day for them.”
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ROLDAN
On returning from Gold Cup:
“I sat on the bench against Nicaragua and saw a 3-0 result, then what an incredible night today coming back from a 3-0 deficit. I thought the substitutes made a huge difference. Everyone was committed to coming back, but we made it difficult on ourselves.”
On the slow start:
“It was sluggish from our side, maybe because of the break. We just didn’t come out to compete – second balls, missed passes. We really missed our passes. It took until they scored three goals for us to really turn it on. We were sharp, we committed guys forward and we scored the chances we had.”
On his goal:
“‘Don’t miss,’ because I would have gotten a lot of crap for that. As Brad [Evans] always says, if you have nowhere to shoot, if the goalie looks like he has cut all angles, shoot through his legs. I shot it as hard as I could through there and luckily it went in.”
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER GUSTAV SVENSSON
On his first MLS goal:
“It’s a good feeling. I am normally not the guy who scores a lot – normally I help in defense and do that hard work – but it’s always nice when you score and help the offense, as well. It’s a good feeling.”
On the slow start:
“Goals can happen anywhere and anytime in soccer, you just have to look at how we played. We didn’t play well – it felt like we didn’t have the timing, it felt like we didn’t connect the passes we wanted to, it felt like we weren’t in the positions we wanted to be. We were not happy with the first half.”
SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER TYLER MILLER
On the comeback:
“You have to reward the guys on their fight tonight. We hung in there, fought back and were able to come out with a win.”
On the momentum after the first goal:
“You could feel it in the crowd, they stuck behind us. They let us know at halftime that they weren’t happy, but after we scored that first goal they stuck behind us and we were able to turn it around.”
D.C. UNITED HEAD COACH BEN OLSEN
On the match:
“We played well in the first half and they played well in the second half. They scored more goals than us. There were plenty of chances and we could’ve scored more in the first half. We got a little stretched in the second. If you do that and they’re throwing aggressive numbers at you with some of the quality that they have…you have to make some plays. We weren’t able to do that. We let ourselves down with too many plays.”
On whether it was breakdowns on D.C.’s end or Seattle stepping up:
“It was a little bit of both – it’s always a little bit of both. It’s them throwing numbers forward and being more aggressive chasing the game, but it’s also us getting stretched and not being able to make the plays that mattered on the day, whether it’s marking on a set piece or not making a tackle in the open field. There were plays out there to win that game and get something out of it, but we didn’t make them. That’s been a little bit of the story with this group up to this point.”
On if there’s any encouragement in scoring goals tonight after a dry stretch:
“Yeah, we got two last game so that part is being fixed. Now we have to be a better defensive team. Right now we’re leaking goals. We’re scoring them, but it’s no good if the other team is putting double on you, as was the case in Dallas, then us giving up four in the second half [tonight].”
On if it’ll be tough to put this one behind them:
“The good thing is we don’t have a lot of time to deal with it. We have Houston in two days and have to travel back across the country and take care of business at home. We’ll forget about it very quickly because we have to. In some ways it’s better than sitting around on a week and dissecting the film and making too much of this.”
D.C. UNITED FORWARD DESHORN BROWN
On the game:
“I don’t really know what to say. It’s just chaos. You never expect this, but it’s a game of football. You have to play until the end of 90 minutes or else it is going to cost you. That is what we get tonight so we just have to learn from this.”
On scoring the opening goal:
“The ball came across and I followed the play. I made a good run and they didn’t stop it.”
On any takeaways:
“No. We just have to let this one pass and keep focused and keep on going.”
D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER IAN HARKES
On the game tonight:
“Obviously we are disappointed to let that one slip away from us. It was a tale of two halves.”
On his goal:
“I think it was just a good breakout by us. We combined on the wing and Sean [Franklin] put a great ball back across to me. It just took a great touch away from the defender and I finished. It was a great overall first-half performance by us. Second half starting out like that with [Lloyd] Sam’s goal was great, but you have to sustain it for sure.”
On what changed in the second half:
“I don’t know if we tightened up, but I think the momentum did shift and you definitely felt it. We just slipped up on important moments and they capitalized. We have to hold each other accountable and move on for Houston.”