Nicolás Lodeiro scored a brace in his first game back after a five-week Copa America hiatus and the Seattle Sounders got their first road win in about three months, beating the Columbus Crew 2-1 on Saturday. Lodeiro’s winner came in the 96th minute after a lengthy stoppage for a video review around the 85th minute. The Sounders had not come from behind to win a game since their season opener against FC Cincinnati.
- Alex Roldan got the Sounders off to a strong start when he found Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez with a run behind the Crew defense in the 5th minute. Ocampo-Chavez wasn’t able to get a shot off but he did find Nicolas Lodeiro at the top of the penalty area for an open shot, which went wide.
- Ocampo-Chavez found himself with a golden chance to open his account just a few minutes later when Victor Rodriguez’s tackle resulted in the teenager getting behind the Crew defense again. Ocampo-Chavez took his shot from about 20 yards well, but Joe Bendik was able to save it.
- The missed chances came back to bite the Sounders when Danny Leyva was whistled for a somewhat questionable penalty — replays did not conclusively show that he actually touched Pedro Santos, who then buried the penalty in the 13th minute.
- Lodeiro grabbed the equalizer in the 56th minute after he drew and converted a penalty. He improved to 10-for-10 from the spot in his Sounders career.
- The game nearly took a turn for the bizarre around the 85th minute. On a play that appeared to start with Chris Penso calling a penalty — although records suggest he didn’t. Whether or not he called a penalty, though, Penso reviewed the play for a potential red card on Lodeiro, who twice shoved Artur in the aftermath. Artur then went to the ground, acting as if he had been punched. Penso reviewed the play and ended up giving yellows to both Lodeiro and Artur, with no mention of a potential penalty.
- The sequence turned out to be rather important, as it was Lodeiro who got free at the back post and put away a wide open header in the 96th minute. Saad Abdul-Salaam wasn’t awarded an assist, as a Crew defender was the last to touch the ball, but his throw was what set up the goal.
MENTAL TOUGHNESS: Over the last two months or so, it has been fair to question just how mentally tough the Sounders were. They hadn’t lost all of those games, but they had struggled whenever the game turned against them. This game stood in stark contrast. Sure, the Crew were missing a ton of players and playing about as bad as anyone in the league. But the same could have been said for Sporting KC, FC Dallas and the Montreal Impact — all losses. But despite the Crew grabbing an early lead — through a questionable penalty — the Sounders never faded and were rewarded with their second almost impossibly late winner in the span of eight days.
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: It was not a perfect performance by any stretch from Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Danny Leyva, but both looked like they absolutely belonged on a MLS pitch. Ocampo-Chavez, 17, was making his first career MLS start, while Leyva, 16, was making his second. Ocampo-Chavez had one very good shot and was tied with the team lead with two key passes. Leyva led the team with three interceptions and played every minute of the 98-minute affair.
LODEIRO IS GOOD AT SOCCER: How much were the Sounders missing Lodeiro over the past six weeks? Maybe more than we realized. In addition to his game-winning goal, Lodeiro also drew and converted the equalizing penalty. He was not, by any means, at the top of his game and had a very pedestrian 41 attempted passes, but he stepped up when the Sounders needed him most. That’s exactly what you want from him.
Did you see that?!?
This was one of the strangest incidents in recent Sounders memory...
Here's the whole situation. No idea wtf is going on here. pic.twitter.com/13tzE1mUyT— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) July 7, 2019
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One stat to tell the tale
10 — Nicolas Lodeiro has now attempted 10 penalties for the Sounders during the regular season, including two this year. He’s converted every one of them. In fact, the only time he missed a penalty either in a shootout or during regular time was in that 3-0 win over the Houston Dynamo in the 2017 playoffs.
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