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Sounders vs LAFC, recap: Failure to launch

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The Sounders created plenty of chances, but just couldn’t capitalize.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

The Seattle Sounders are headed home following a 3-1 loss away to LAFC, and will likely be hoping to put the game behind them with their next contest scheduled for Wednesday at home against the Colorado Rapids. While the Sounders played well for the most part — creating plenty of chances and limiting what danger LAFC were able to create — an inability to take advantage of those chances and some poor defending put them in a hole they just couldn’t climb out of. Nico Lodeiro put Seattle on the score board with about 13 minutes of regular time left to go, hitting an absolutely immaculate free kick, but the team was never able to overcome the deficit.

While the loss is tough to take, things certainly could have been worse. LAFC will be glad to have gotten the three points, but they lost two players to injury in the first 12 minutes of the game as Mark-Anthony Kaye and Andy Najar both had to be subbed off. To make things worse, LAFC had two more players appear to suffer head injuries later in the game, though both stayed on the field. With players already missing due to injury, and three starters gone for the next month due to international duty, Brian Schmetzer and his side can’t really afford to lose anyone else to injury. Seattle’s next game, as stated above, is scheduled for Wednesday, but it’s worth noting that the Colorado Rapids have already had their last two games postponed due to COVID-19 cases within the club.

Key moments

6’ — Mark-Anthony Kaye has to come off due to an ankle injury after a challenge with Gómez Andrade. He’s replaced by Andy Najar.

12’ — Najar only lasts a few minutes he, too, comes off with a hamstring injury and is replaced by Mohamed El-Munir.

14’ — Gómez Andrade gives the ball up cheaply as he tries to beat Bradley Wright-Philips on the dribble. Shane O’Neill is able to take advantage of a bad touch to clear the ball out for a throw-in.

15’ — Danny Musovski loses Kelvin Leerdam and easily beats Stefan Frei with a header from a free kick to take the lead. 1-0

44’ — Cristian Roldan does all the work to create a perfect opportunity to level the game, but Will Bruin puts his shot over the bar.

45+5’ — Roldan gets a dangerous look amidst a scramble following a corner, but his header goes wide of the goal.

57’ — Gómez Andrade gets a golden look in front of goal as he picks up a bouncing ball off of a free kick, but Jordan Harvey clears it off of the line.

65’ — Sloppy play in the Sounders box minutes after a lengthy stoppage due to two apparent head injuries to LAFC players, and Francisco Ginella smashes his shot past Frei to double the lead. 2-0

77’ — Nico Lodeiro hits a perfect free kick from the top of the box, finding the upper right corner to narrow the deficit. 2-1

84’ — Musovski picks up a failed clearance by Gómez Andrade after the back line gets beat by a BWP run and finishes low into the far corner, stretching the lead back to two goals. 3-1

Quick thoughts

Bad bounces: You can do all of the preparation you want — think through all of the possibilities, train your body to peak physical fitness, and hone your muscle memory — but sometimes you just get unlucky. It’s easy to look at this game (and the 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers) and say that the Sounders just weren’t good enough. They made plenty of mistakes, but they still created plenty of chances, got in good spots, took quality shots, and yet they came away with nothing to show for it. That’s just the way it is sometimes, and the Sounders have to trust that if they keep creating those chances more often than not they’ll get the result.

Defensive lapses: While there may have been positives in the attack in spite of the lack of goals, there were certainly issues on defense. Kelvin Leerdam appeared to simply choose not to mark Musovski on the opening goal, while the entire defense seemed to lose players on the second and third goals. Stefan Frei bemoaned the defensive lapses that deprived the team of clean sheets against the San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy, and RSL, but on a night when the offense is getting unlucky, those defensive struggles really hurt.

Rotation, rotation, rotation: Brian Schmetzer has shown a consistent faith in his preferred starting XI, and he’s generally been rewarded with strong performances and positive results. As such it wasn’t much of a surprise to see him run out what’s likely the strongest possible lineup available to him in this game, presumably targeting the midweek game against the Colorado Rapids (should that game actually be played) as the chance to give some guys a rest. The team he put on the field looked tired more than a few times, though, raising the question of whether that strategy is still viable in this strange, congested 2020 season.

Did you see that?!?

It’s been a while since the Sounders scored from a free kick like that, and Nico Lodeiro hit this one about as well as anyone can. No chance for the ‘keeper to do anything but pick it out of the net.

He said what?!?

Stat of the game

2.2 — 538 had the Sounders xG at 2.2, compared to LAFC’s 1.1. This seems to match up with the eye test, as Seattle created plenty of chances but failed to turn them into goals.


Poll

Man of the match

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Nico Lodeiro
    (213 votes)
  • 4%
    Cristian Roldan
    (12 votes)
  • 3%
    Yeimar Gómez Andrade
    (8 votes)
  • 4%
    João Paulo
    (10 votes)
243 votes total Vote Now