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Sounders draw Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 in midseason friendly

Clint Dempsey scored Seattle’s only goal, just before halftime

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With Major League Soccer kicking off its break for the group stages of the Gold Cup, the Seattle Sounders played a friendly against German club Eintracht Frankfurt to keep players fresh and give fringe/S2 guys a chance to impress against a top opponent. Only a few of those players got the nod from the start, as interim head coach Gonzalo Pineda picked a rather strong starting XI that included Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro, and Roman Torres. Seven S2 players were signed to short-term loans for this match, though the only one in the starting XI was Brian Nana-Sinkam. The match ended 1-1, with both teams notching their lone goals in the first half.

Seattle kicked off the game in style, getting Will Bruin into the Frankfurt box immediately, but he lost the ball after taking too many touches. Bruin had another great chance not long after, when he met a short Aaron Kovar cross at close range, but his header flew just wide.

Frankfurt starting getting into their own rhythm after the first 15 minutes or so, forcing Stefan Frei into multiple impressive saves in quick succession. The most notable of which was on a dipping, long-range shot that nearly eased into the top corner. The away side eventually drew first blood in the 29th minute, when Chandler waltzed down the right side unmarked and crossed into the center of the box. Torres slipped in front of Branimir Hrgota, who tapped the ball in to make it 1-0. Seattle nearly got right back in it less than a minute later; Lodeiro earned a free kick right on the edge of the box, but Dempsey’s set piece flew inches over the bar.

Things started to get chippy in the last bit of the half, with Frankfurt’s Max Besuschkow getting cautioned for a needless foul on Dempsey, who was livid about the tackle. But as he often does, Dempsey channeled that anger into scoring as he put the ball in Frankfurt’s net from a wide angle to make it 1-1 in the 44th minute.

As expected, the Sounders made their first set of substitutions prior to the second half, bringing on Rodrigue Ele, Francisco Narbon, Zach Mathers, and Bryan Meredith on for Torres, Dempsey, Svensson, and Frei. Some of the subs made an impression early, including Narbon, who made an excellent recovery tackle at midfield to set off a very slick passing sequence for Seattle that almost earned them a goal.

Victor Mansaray made his first appearance for the Sounders since being recalled from his loan with FC Cincinnati, coming on in the 67th minute for Bruin. Literally nothing else happened for the next 20 minutes, aside from more substitutions and a shot on goal from the Sounders. Ray Saari, Irvin Parra, and Seyi Adekoya all came in for Seattle; Meredith took the captain’s armband after Lodeiro left the pitch.

Mansaray forced the Frankfurt keeper into a low diving save after he headed in a cross from Nouhou at close range, and nearly had another chance in the box but his first touch betrayed him and the ball was knocked out for a corner. Mathers’ subsequent set piece was terrible and went straight to the defender at the near post.

Neither team found the back of the net again, and the match finished 1-1. Final attendance today was 40,667.

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