The Seattle Sounders played their way to a very frustrating 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers on Thursday night, needing one of the latest goals in the rivalry’s history to salvage that. The late goal was enough to keep the Sounders in first place of the Western Conference where they’re even on points with one fewer game played than the Timbers.
Sloppy defending provided the Timbers with their opener, as no one picked up Andres Flores as he made a late run and hung out on the edge of the Sounders 18 where he ultimately picked up a rebound and fired it home. After that the most notable event from the first half was Jordy Delem getting cleaned out by an oblivious Ismail Elfath, and eventually having to be subbed off. Throughout the first half as the Sounders chased the game, they looked the least likely to score.
Seattle came into the second half looking better. In the final 45 minutes they created 12 of their 15 total shots. Brian Schmetzer added a bit of energy with two subs, bringing Shandon Hopeau and Miguel Ibarra on for Kelvin Leerdam and Shane O’Neill. With some fresh legs on the field, the team’s push for a goal was rejuvenated. Will Bruin saved Brian Schmetzer’s side from yet another loss to the Timbers when he found himself all alone at the back post on a corner — that corner earned by Shandon Hopeau, who lost out in a foot race, but still fought on the end line to prevent a goal kick — and hammered it home to even things up well into stoppage time. The Sounders are back in action on Tuesday when they visit Providence Park to face the Vancouver Whitecaps.
11’ — Stefan Frei is able to parry away a shot, but the rebound fall directly to Flores, who finishes on a half-volley to take the lead. 1-0
25’ — The referee, Elfath, backs away from the ball as play develops, colliding with an on-rushing Jordy Delem. Delem stays down for a while, eventually being subbed off for Alex Roldan.
55’ — Good build-up play leads to an excellent cross from Alex Roldan, but the ball is just beyond the reach of Morris, and it’s cleared for a throw-in.
67’ — Nouhou makes an underlapping run and hits a cross from the end line that reaches Leerdam. Leerdam’s header is just over the goal.
77’ — Morris does absolutely everything right to get out on a counter, finds Lodeiro inside the box, but after chesting the ball down his shot is over the bar.
93’ — Will Bruin pops out unmarked to clean up a corner inside the box, and he finishes with confidence to even things up. 1-1
Heavy legs: Another game, another 90 minutes, give or take, of watching Sounders players typically known for their energy and speed doing their best to run around the field and looking like they’re doing it in quick sand. Even Jordan Morris was losing foot races. The schedule doesn’t get any lighter from here, with four games in the next 17 days, and the issue isn’t going to get any better without any rotation or effective use of subs.
Bruin’s back: There have been plenty of things to appreciate about what Bruin has offered up top for the Sounders with Raúl Ruidíaz unavailable, but goals haven’t been one of them. In stoppage time, that ended as he conjured the magic necessary to snatch a point from the clutches of the Timbers. The lack of end product for Bruin up to this point has knock-on effects beyond just him not scoring goals, it also allows teams to pay just a little less attention to him in order to devote more energy to shutting down Morris and Lodeiro. With Bruin off the mark, he’ll demand a little more attention, and in turn provide his teammates with a little more space to operate.
First place in the West: It hasn’t been pretty lately, but the Sounders are still on top of the Western Conference. If this late result can serve as a turning point and get them off of this recent slide, they still have a good chance of earning home field advantage through the playoffs. Heck, maybe they could even host another MLS Cup Final.
Did you see that?!?
Will Bruin like it was drawn up. pic.twitter.com/y79B97EAjj— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) October 23, 2020
Who doesn’t love seeing Will Bruin score goals?
He said what?!?
"At first I thought maybe the whistle had gone because no one was reacting, but it counted." - Will Bruin— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) October 23, 2020
Stat of the game
43 — The Sounders attempted 43 crosses, not including their 8 corners, against the Timbers. One of them did eventually lead to their goal.
Man of the match
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