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Sounders vs LAFC, recap: In-N-Out with a point

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Seattle overcame an early goal thanks to a Brad Smith header.

Seattle Sounders FC v Los Angeles Football Club Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

All things considered, a 1-1 draw on the road against LAFC isn’t a bad result. Missing some of the brightest stars from both sides, as the Seattle Sounders were without Nico Lodeiro and Fredy Montero while LAFC were missing Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, this game probably seemed like an opportunity to pick up a win for both sides. After a 2nd minute goal for LAFC courtesy of Eduard Atuesta due to a foolish mistake from Xavier Arreaga, the Sounders will probably be somewhat pleased to come away with the point.

Brian Schmetzer’s side were able to show some of the promise that the new 3-5-2 holds, playing slick passing through the midfield, working 1-2s with the wingbacks, and getting particularly good service from Alex Roldan on the right. His cross to Raúl Ruidíaz resulted in Brad Smith’s header to tie the game, and he could have easily been involved in another goal with better finishing or better luck. This game also showed some cracks in the armor, though. Miscommunication and bad decision making in the back resulted in the opening goal and a number of other close calls, with Arreaga and Stefan Frei seemingly on different pages throughout the game. With all that and another strong performance from Josh Atencio in the middle of the park, going home with a result and a clear lesson plan for training this week is a solid haul from a trip to Los Angeles.

Key moments

2’ - Arreaga commits a foul on the edge of the box, and Atuesta puts his shot under the wall and inside Frei’s near post to open the scoring. 0-1

25’ - Cristian Roldan pulls up from outside the box and unleashes a shot along the ground that comes off the far post. Atencio follows up with a nice shot, but hits it over the bar.

54’ - Smith is in the box to clean up a a spilled save from the LAFC keeper after a bullet header from Ruidíaz, and Smith’s header finds its way home to even the score. 1-1

83’ - Dobbelaere subs into the game and his first action is to go into a challenge that earns him a yellow card and some bad feelings from LAFC.

89’ - Ruidíaz nearly grabs the lead, getting on the end of another Alex Roldan cross, but his header misses the mark.

Quick thoughts

Atenci-oh, boy! The 19 year-old midfielder got his second consecutive start while Lodeiro continues his recovery, and in a much more difficult environment he had another standout performance. His passing accuracy took a hit, thanks in large part to LAFC’s own midfield, completing only 69% of his passes, but according to MLS he won 87.5% of his 10 duels (I don’t know how that math works) and completed both of his dribbles. He consistently showed up in the right spots and helped to slow or stop LAFC’s attempts to progress the ball. He also had an exceptional tackle-pass in the first half that was wasted by a poor Brad Smith cross.

LWB woes: Brad Smith scored his first goal as a Sounder! It was great, he did everything right on the play. He also made some good runs, and had some good interchanges with the forwards. More often than not, though, when he got into good spots he either made the wrong decision or hit a bad pass or cross. He’s got the starting spot right now, but he’s not exactly done much to make it his, and has often looked like the worst player on the field. The Sounders can’t well afford to have their wingbacks look like weak spots, so if Smith can’t improve his performances then one of Jimmy Medranda or Kelyn Rowe will probably need to take his spot.

The CB question: Schmetzer has maintained that Yeimar Gómez Andrade’s absence from the starting lineup has been a matter of a coach’s decision. Arreaga has been the central center back through these first two games and while he’s flexed some of the passing and ball handling skills that make him so valuable, he’s also shown a bit of a penchant for the kind of errors and lapses of judgement that cause migraines throughout the greater Seattle metro area. Shane O’Neill has also largely been Shane O’Neill, which makes Gómez Andrade’s presence on the bench all the more frustrating. With an apparent upgrade over one or two of the starting CBs available, it seems like it must be time for a change.

Did you see that?!?

Brad Smith trying to make the case that bald is beautiful.

One stat to tell the tale

6 — While both sides managed a total of 9 shots each, the Sounders took 6 of their 9 from inside LAFC’s penalty area compared to 3 taken from inside their own.


Poll

Man of the match

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Alex Roldan
    (298 votes)
  • 9%
    Brad Smith
    (68 votes)
  • 20%
    Josh Atencio
    (157 votes)
  • 5%
    Will Bruin
    (38 votes)
  • 25%
    Cristian Roldan
    (193 votes)
754 votes total Vote Now