There were many bright sides to the Seattle Sounders’ 3-1 win over New York City FC Sunday. One of the unexpected upturns from the club, however, was the play of midfielder Harry Shipp, who smashed in a late goal to put the game out of doubt for the Sounders.
Shipp made his ninth start of the season for the Sounders and had his best game of the year, helping connect passes and keep the offense flowing from sideline to sideline despite Seattle’s disadvantage in the possession game.
“He’s always been a good player,” head coach Brian Schmetzer said of the 26-year-old. “He’s always been a good kid. I think it’s always the players buying in, it’s Harry feeling confident. Certainly, he deserved that goal today. You know, it’s all of those little things, those little pieces. He trains hard. He’s always eager to learn. He’ll watch film on his opponents. He’ll watch film on himself. So, it’s all of those little things.
“I constantly say that this is a team game and a team sport. When the team starts playing well… they all have that confidence, that little bit of swagger. And you can feel it within the group. That certainly has helped Harry as well.”
Shipp completed 47 of his 50 passes on the day to go with a goal, two key passes and a secondary assist on Gustav Svensson’s rocket goal.
It was the type of offensive performance that helps alleviate the concerns about the midfield while the club searches for more attacking talent in the transfer market and Victor Rodriguez recovers from a hamstring strain.
“I was always someone who would do whatever it took to be out on the field,” Shipp said. “And I took a step back when I wasn’t playing and I thought about what I need to do to get back on the field and have this team win games. It was more thinking about how I can move off the ball and maybe not have 100 touches a game. That’s why what I am most proud of is that since I’ve been playing again we’ve been winning games. That’s what I take pride in.”
Shipp’s game is still not perfect. His lack of speed means he is slow to recover on defense, a trait brought into the spotlight by a shaky game from his defensive counterpart Nouhou Sunday, but in a league where perfect roster depth does not exist, Shipp’s performance Sunday means that the Sounders can remain full steam ahead toward the red line, even if they have to call upon their bench.