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Galaxy vs. Sounders, recap: One is not enough

Sounders fail to full capitalize on playing a man up for 85 minutes.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at LA Galaxy Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Despite playing up a man for 85+ minutes, taking the initial lead and out shooting the hosts 21-8, the Seattle Sounders needed an 82nd own-goal to even salvage a 2-2 tie with the LA Galaxy on Saturday. On a long list of frustrating results, this one has to rank near the top.

Even after Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave the Galaxy the lead in the 65th minute after drawing and converting a penalty, the Sounders had plenty of chances to take all three points, including several close range shots in the game’s final moments.

Key moments

  • The Sounders were gifted a man advantage in the 6th minute when Daniel Steres — the former Sounder posterized by Jordan Morris in 2016 — dragged down Raúl Ruidíaz with no one between him and the goal. It was an easy red for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity.
  • Seemingly intent to repay the favor, the Sounders were called for a penalty in the 11th minute when Cristian Roldan took down Jonathan Dos Santos in the penalty area. Luckily for them, VAR showed that Dos Santos handled the ball before the foul and the call was overturned.
  • Despite being a man up, the Sounders did not seem particularly intent on dictating the game and spent much of the first half allowing the Galaxy to collapse into a defensive shell on defense and possess the ball on offense.
  • That finally changed in the 42nd minute when Nicolás Lodeiro played Morris in behind the defense. Morris was able to push the ball ahead and cut into the middle of the box, beating the first defender before trying to pirouette around another. Although he lost the ball, it fell to Harry Shipp, who then found Ruidiaz floating into space on the right. Ruidiaz’s shot beat David Bingham to the far post for his ninth goal of the season.
  • Ruidíaz probably should have had a second two minutes later as he had an even better look from a Lodeiro feed. That shot was saved, however.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the Sounders pay for the missed chance, rising over Kim Kee-hee to power home a header to make it 1-1 heading into halftime.
  • The Sounders the second half well enough, but were undone by a seemingly innocuous sequence in the 65th minute. A cross came into the box that no one had any chance at getting, but Kim still managed to drag down Ibrahimovic to draw the penalty. Ibrahimovic then converted to give the Galaxy a 2-1 lead.
  • Lodeiro nearly equalized a few minutes later on a sliding effort that forced Bingham into a diving save. Handwalla Bwana had made a wonderful play to keep the ball in at the endline.
  • The Sounders got another huge break in 82nd minute when Lodeiro played a ball in behind the Galaxy backline to Morris that forced Bingham way off his line. Bingham was able to beat Morris to the ball, but his clearance struck the head of Jorgen Skjelvik and rolled about 24 yards into the goal.
  • That seemed to finally awaken the Sounders’ attack, who were on the front foot for the rest of the game and generated several quality chances.
  • Morris had a glorious look at a go-ahead goal in the 88th minute when Bwana sent a cross into the box. After bouncing around a bit, the ball came out to Morris who’s left-footed attempt was unfortunately right at Bingham.
  • A minute later, it was Ruidíaz’s turn again. Lodeiro found the striker streaking into the box, but his half-volley went just wide.
  • The final big chance came from Luis Silva, who had a glorious look only to have Bingham make a diving save.

Talking points

Missed opportunity: This was not a must-win match by any stretch, but after being gift-wrapped the opportunity to play up a man for essentially 90 minutes the Sounders have to look at this as a huge letdown. They wasted must of the first 30 minutes of being a man up by hardly pressing the Galaxy at all and then showed very little urgency until the final 20 minutes. It’s becoming a pattern, especially on the road, where the Sounders just seem uncomfortable dictating the match. They’ve got to figure that out.

Getting Zlatan’d: There aren’t many people in MLS who can effectively mark Ibrahimovich, but Kim got absolutely man-handled. On the first goal, Kim is doing everything he can from grabbing to pulling to no avail. On the penalty, he allows Ibrahimovich to get into position to go down far too easily. The Sounders did a fine job denying the Galaxy chances — as you’d expect when playing up a man for so long — but the chances they did give up were of far too high a quality. The Sounders have now given up 11 goals in four games, which is no way to win games in MLS.

Looking ahead: Putting aside the frustrations with the result itself, there were some positives to draw from. The 21 shots included 16 from inside the penalty area, six of which were on frame. To the degree you’d expect the Sounders to dominate chance creations when playing up a man, they did. They also managed to create some genuine danger in transition, which led directly to both of their goals. Whenever they could get Morris running at the Galaxy defense, good things seemed to happen. Unfortunately, they went long periods without even trying to do that. Next Friday’s game at Portland would seem to be the perfect time to look for those transition moments. Let’s hope they do.

Did you see that?!?!

At least we’ll have this.

He said what?!?

“Nothing about this feels good. I need to get a team that feels confident, that can defend confidently and that can attack confidently. We need to give those guys the right tools, the right messaging, the right whatever it takes to get them to play like the team that they were in the first six or seven games of the year. The game was ripe for the taking.” - Brian Schmetzer

One stat to tell the tale

9 — The Sounders finally ended their nine-match road streak of going scoreless in the first half, but still looked far too timid for too much of the half given they were up a man.


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