The 2-1 loss by the Seattle Sounders against the Chicago Fire featured a different set of frustrations than the scoreless draw against the San Jose Earthquakes, but at least in the latter, the Sounders got a result. Picking up no points against the Fire leaves the Sounders in a precarious position as far as advancing in the MLS is Back tournament, to say nothing of suffering their first defeat of the year. Coach Brian Schmetzer won’t have much time to dwell over the loss, but he surely will be able to use the game to make adjustments for an important game against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday. Here’s what we saw from the game.
Hope(au) for the future
Shandon Hopeau got something of the surprise start, with Jordan Morris beginning the game on the bench likely as a precaution. While Hopeau didn’t look particularly out of place, he didn’t really impact the game either. He had a couple of chances to put shots on target, including a nice turn on a pass in first-half stoppage time to get into the box, but was bodied off the ball and the chance went begging. He also picked up a yellow for a challenge on Jonathan Bornstein late in the half, which resulted in a dangerous set-piece for the Fire. The 21-year-old was subbed off for Morris at halftime.
The lowdown on Lodeiro
While nobody has had much game time in the last four months, Nicolas Lodeiro has had even less, recovering from a hamstring injury during the course of the winter preseason. In possession, Lodeiro was his usual dynamic self, transitioning from defense to attack. However his passing in particular showed that he still needs more game time. Lodeiro struggled creating chances from distance either through set pieces or merely setting up his teammates, and most of what he tried was way off the mark.
Xavier Arreaga isn’t necessarily known as a physical defender, his impressive showing against Carlos Vela and LAFC in the 2019 MLS Cup Western Conference Final aside. However he is aggressive, which makes his blunder in the 52’ all the more disappointing. On a routine clearance from Fire goalkeeper to midfield, Arreaga inexplicably let the ball bounce over his head and was subsequently bodied off the ball by Robert Beric, and left on the ground as the forward was able to slot a shot past Stefan Frei. Arreaga was then at fault for the game winner in the 84th minute, as he lost his marker on a Chicago corner, allowing Mauricio Pineda to put a shot away at the back post. All in all a rough performance.
More from Morris
No, Morris won’t be seeing a change of role anytime soon, but he is making a habit of coming off of the bench to impact the game. Morris used his pace to set up the tying goal, dribbling to the endLine and cutting the ball back to set up Bwana for a solid finish. The good news is that Morris should be reasonably rested for the final game in the group stage.
Bwana offers life
Hopeau starting the game would understandably lead one to wonder about the future of Bwana’s role with the team, given he’s now in his third professional season. However Bwana showed why the Sounders think he has a bright future, riding a challenge to finish off Morris’ good work to tie the game. Schmetzer would probably like Bwana to be more aggressive in one-on-one situations but this was a good substitute performance.