Sigi Schmid returned to Seattle as the head coach of a different team than the Sounders for the first time ever on Sunday. The LA Galaxy came to Seattle trying to save their season, while the home team’s goal was to jump back on top of the Western standings after Portland leapfrogged them this weekend. Despite seeing Jordan Morris limp off injured and Roman Torres sent off late in the second half, the Sounders managed a 1-1 draw in one of the craziest matches of the season.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer gave Jordan the nod as his lone striker, with Victor Rodriguez on the left and Will Bruin on the bench. Oniel Fisher started at left back, as Joevin Jones was completely left off the 18—presumably as punishment for his early exit for international duty.
Seattle had some of the better early chances, including a great chance when Rodriguez slipped Fisher into the left side of the box after some great overlap by the left-back, but his cross bounced off Clint Dempsey’s feet on the opposite end of the box. LA’s first great chance came after Alessandrini beat Osvaldo Alonso and created some space for himself; his curled shot took a deflection and almost dipped over Stefan Frei’s head, but the Sounders goalkeeper made a great reaction save and tipped it over the bar.
The Sounders almost took the lead after 20 minutes, when it looked like Morris was slipped through the middle by Dempsey and fired it into the back of the net—but he was ruled ever so slightly offside. But it was the Galaxy that eventually got on the board first, when Alessandrini opened up space on the right and crossed it to the middle for Gyasi Zardes, who headed the open header into the back of the net.
Galaxy keeper Jon Kempin had to be substituted off for Brian Rowe, who was called into action quickly when he made an impressive diving save to the top corner to tip a great Dempsey free kick wide of the post. Seattle fought for some chances to finish out the half, but they came up short and the away side kept their 1-0 lead into halftime.
Neither side made much of an impact early in the second half, though the Sounders made some solid attempts that came up short. Their worst nightmares came true, though, when Morris pulled up his hamstring while making a run towards goal. Will Bruin replaced him in the 61st minute. The Sounders forward had a solid chance not long after coming on, getting his head on a cross that flew too high over the bar.
The match started to get a bit more chippy in the second half, though the Galaxy had already started the trend in the first. Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro were lucky to not see more punishment at various times, as were Alessandrini and Jermaine Jones. Fisher saw yellow for a mis-timed kick at Alessandrini after the ball was gone, as did Alonso for a poorly timed poke that ended with him stomping on Boateng’s foot.
Things almost went from bad to worse for the Sounders when Zardes looked to be 1v1 with Frei, but he was eventually flagged offside. Still unable to get a goal of their own, Seattle brought Lamar Neagle on for Rodriguez in the 83rd in an attempt to get a late goal.
And it worked! Roman Torres got the ball on the right side of the box and made a flying cross to the middle of the box, where Neagle smacked the bouncing ball into the back of the net to tie it up 1-1. Things went south for Seattle and Torres almost immediately after, when Jermaine Jones went down on the edge of the box after the Seattle defender made a recovery tackle on him. The referee deemed it worthy of a red card and sent Torres off in the 89th minute. Replays showed that there was little to no contact by Torres. Luckily things didn’t get worse, as Giovani Dos Santos’ subsequent free kick deflected off the wall and went out for a corner.
Both sides had some near-chances during the six minutes of injury time, but neither team broke through and the match finished as a 1-1 draw.