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Sounders at Atlanta United, recap: Stout defending earns road point

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Nicolas Lodeiro and Josef Martinez trade goals in 1-1 draw.

Seattle Sounders v Atlanta United Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

The much-hyped match between the Seattle Sounders and Atlanta United provided glimpses of the goal-scoring prowess of the Five Stripes and the defense which has earned Seattle an MLS Cup. The 1-1 result is a small victory for a Seattle team that desperately needs points as they start the second half of the 2018 season. The result leaves the Sounders in 10th in the West. Atlanta is still first in the East and the Supporters’ Shield race.

Nicolas Lodeiro opened scoring with his second goal of the season. His penalty kick at 45’ was poorly taken, and managed to find it’s way across the line anyway despite Brad Guzan getting a hand on the shot. Harry Shipp won the penalty when his shot from distance hit Escobar’s arm and the VAR indicated to center referee that Toledo needed to review the call. After watching the replay the penalty was given.

Just minutes into the second half Josef Martinez scored his 19th goal of the season. Julian Gressel’s cross brought Stefan Frei into no-man’s land, and Martinez hit a lofty header over the out-of-position keeper.

Any intent by the Sounders to go toe-to-toe with Atlanta ended when Jordan McCrary undercut a surging United attacker. It was his second yellow of the match, forcing Seattle to play down a man for the final 27+ minutes. Those final minutes were defined by AUFC assaulting a bunkered SSFC team willing to hold onto the single point from the 1-1 draw.

Key Moments

Early on there was a strong chance that Atlanta would be playing down when defender Leandro González Pirez elbowed Nicolas Lodeiro in the face not once, but twice. Instead of seeing red he was only given a yellow.

He wasn’t the only Atlanta player who committed a clear and obvious red. Josef Martinez should not have finished the match either.

Thirdly, Seattle was forced to move away from whatever attacking hope they had when Jordan McCrary committed his second yellow card offense (63’). Playing down a man, the Sounders would pull back into their typical-for-2018 shell, though with more attacking threats than in the early season. They would absorb, absorb, absorb and manage to limit the best offense in the league to just a single goal.

Every substitution after the McCrary sending off was done to make Seattle more defensive. The formation shifted to a 4-4-1 with a bit of freedom for Lodeiro, but the intent was clear — hold on for a point.

Talking Points

3 Good

  • Harry Shipp continues to be aggressive towards goal and create positive circumstances via deflection. It was his shot that earned the penalty that Lodeiro put in to put Seattle up 1-nil.
  • Jordy Delem’s job was to shadow Miguel Almiron. He was wonderful. Man marking within the modern game isn’t common, but this may be Delem’s best role.
  • Despite playing on their backfoot, the attacking band of Shipp-Lodeiro-Rodriguez used the speed of the ball to get out often. Their passing in the attacking third, in the first half, was better than Atlanta’s passing. For the first 45 while on the road the Sounders took it to the Five Stripes and looked to try to win it.

3 Bad

  • Jordan McCrary, playing near his hometown, took an early yellow that was unnecessary and his second yellow was a foul that didn’t even stop the breakaway. From 63’ on Seattle was forced to play down a man. Kelvin Leerdam immediately entered for Harry Shipp as the Sounders switched to a 4-4-1.
  • Stefan Frei left his line and got caught in no-man’s land when Josef Martinez scored. It was a rare positional gaff from a keeper who is generally strong in that area of the game.
  • Chad Marshall was subbed off. According to Katie Witham this was done because he had a hamstring issue. The Sounders defense needs Marshall if they are going to make their late season charge.

Lineups

Sounders, 4-2-3-1: Frei; Nouhou, Marshall (Svensson, 73’), Kim, McCrary (sent off 63’); Delem, CRoldan; Rodriguez (Alonso, 88’), Lodeiro, Shipp (Leerdam, 65’); Bruin

Atlanta, 4-2-3-1: Guzan; McCann, Gonzalez Pirez, Parkhurst, Escobar (Escobar, 80’); Larentowicz, Gressel; Barco, Almiron, Villaba; Martinez

Goals

45’ Lodeiro (PK)

48’ Martinez (Gressel)

Poll

Who was your Man of the Match in the 1-1 draw with Atlanta?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Jordy Delem
    (237 votes)
  • 42%
    Stefan Frei
    (322 votes)
  • 13%
    Nicolas Lodeiro
    (99 votes)
  • 12%
    Harry Shipp
    (96 votes)
754 votes total Vote Now