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Sounders defeat D.C. to pick up third win of the season

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Goals from Lodeiro and Wolff EIkrem earned the 2-1 victory

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

The Sounders went into this rainy Saturday night match against D.C. United needing a win, not only for the points, but for morale. They fielded one of their strongest lineups of the season, with most players finally at least somewhat healthy. Nicolás Lodeiro and Victor Rodriguez started in midfield with Clint Dempsey, while Will Bruin started as the lone striker after being sidelined last match with a foot injury. Despite going down early in the second half, Seattle earned the victory with a 2-1 win through goals from Nicolas Lodeiro and Magnus Wolff Eikrem.

As the rain poured down in the opening minutes, neither team got too much going early. Rodriguez nearly played Harry Shipp in with a beautiful pass, but the latter was flagged offside. Soon after, D.C. defender Frédérick Brillant swung his arm into Rodriguez’s face in a manner that would have made Sergio Ramos blush. The Spaniard lay on the ground for awhile, and despite the Sounders’ protests, referee Sorin Stoica didn’t even consult VAR or show a yellow card. The resulting free kick by Dempsey limply hit the wall before getting cleared away.

Just after 20 minutes, the Sounders carved through the D.C. defense after Shipp picked up the ball near the halfway line, and despite a few beautiful moves by Dempsey, the ball eventually rolled dead to allow David Ousted to grab it and kill the play. Despite holding onto most of the possession and making it to the final third in numbers often, the Sounders couldn’t break down their opponent’s defense for the rest of the half.

After a couple early chances, D.C. rarely threatened Seattle’s goal, choosing instead to play it safe whenever possible. The one time they looked like they might actually get a shot off, Kim Kee-Hee slid in with a clean tackle in the box to snuff it out. Otherwise, D.C. looked happy to finish the first 45 with a 0-0 scoreline.

The Sounders came out well in the second half, attacking and keeping possession just like they had for most of the first. But then disaster struck in the 53rd minute after Stefan Frei parried a point-blank Paul Arriola header right into the path of Darren Mattocks, who smacked it into an open net to put D.C. up 1-0.

The deficit didn’t last long, however, as the Sounders equalized in the 57th minute after Lodeiro fired a beautiful shot into the bottom corner after the United defense cleared a long Kelvin Leerdam throw-in right to him at the top of the box.

A confusing few minutes saw the first couple Seattle substitutions, first in the 65th minute: Osvaldo Alonso for Victor Rodriguez. Not long after, Leerdam went down near the sideline and had to be substituted for Magnus Wolff Eikrem in the 69th minute. Cristian Roldan dropped back to right back and Eikrem filled the right midfield spot.

Seattle continued to push in the last 20 minutes of the match, but D.C. started to break down and push up the field on the counter to keep things interesting. The Sounders’ constant attacking finally paid off as they took the lead for the first time of the night in the 83rd minute. Roldan, who already looked great as an emergency right back after Leerdam’s exit, fired in a perfect cross for Eikrem, whose header bounced the ball low and out of Ousted’s reach to make it 2-1.

Seattle saw out the final few minutes of the match by substituting Tony Alfaro on for Will Bruin to reinforce the defensive lines, and earned their third win of the season, moving them to 3-7-2 and 11 points, while D.C. dropped to 2-6-3 and remains on 9 points.