SEATTLE — About five minutes from the final whistle, the Seattle Sounders were facing their fourth straight home loss to the Portland Timbers and a second straight scoreless performance. Another result without scoring that would have raised questions about the suddenly malfunctioning Sounders attack — albeit with significant personnel absences.
Some of those frustrations likely still linger, but Will Bruin’s late equalizer at least allowed the Sounders to end those ignominious streaks.
Bruin gets his reward
Bruin is certainly a team player, and does his part to help the team in all sorts of ways that don’t necessarily involve scoring. But all things considered, he’d probably prefer not to be man of the match for holding the ball up at midfield and defensive goal line clearances that save points for the Sounders. After another 90 minutes of battling with the Timbers centerbakcs, it seemed as if he wouldn’t even be able to provide a defensive moment to save the day. However in the 93rd, Bruin floated to the back post and was in the right place at the right time to fire the ball through the back of the Timbers goal and save — another — point for the Sounders. It was his first regular-season goal since April 13, 2019.
Off the mark, again
This is becoming a bit of a nasty habit. While Sounders didn’t create much of anything in the drab 0-0 draw against San Jose, the Sounders were back to misfiring in a way that harkened back to the 3-1 loss at LAFC earlier this month. Like the LAFC match, there were multiple open looks at goal that were either near misses or shockingly off target. For the game, the Sounders outshot the Timbers 15-8, but Bruin’s shot was the only one of those shots was on goal.
The Sounders oft-entertaining left back gets criticism for his lack of production on the offensive end, but given the Sounders’ recent woes in front of goal, perhaps the criticism is a bit unfair. In addition to his usual solid defensive shift, Nouhou had several dangerous crosses that at least should have resulted in shots on target. In the 68th after a good buildup, Nouhou floated a cross right to Kelvin Leerdam, who was set up wonderful for a close range header only to have it sail high. Nouhou also narrowly missed his first goal for the Sounders in 55th, firing a shot that went just wide of goal. All in all a solid performance from Nouhou, who will be asked to carry the load at left back until the Sounders compliment of fullbacks returns.
Alex Roldan impresses
The Sounders think that Alex Roldan’s future is at right back, but much like his older brother, he can fill in elsewhere in a pinch. So when Jordy Delem was taken out of the game by the errant elbow of referee Ismail Elfath in the first half, the Sounders went to the third-year player to help out on the wing, moving his brother Cristian back to defensive midfield. The younger Roldan put in a solid shift, once again displaying a quality cross and some incisive passing. Still a work in progress on the defensive end, but Roldan seems to be carving out his niche in MLS.