The Seattle Sounders welcomed Atlanta United into Lumen Field with a full supporters section on Sunday afternoon, but sent everyone home a little disappointed with a 1-1 draw. The Sounders opened the scoring up early with a headed goal from Raúl Ruidíaz off of a corner in the 6th minute.
Atlanta held the bulk of possession throughout the game, but for all their control of the ball they failed to create much in the way of real chances. That finally changed in the 86th minute when they drew a penalty that resulted in their one clear chance of the game, which Josef Martinez converted.
After grabbing the early lead, the Sounders put together a handful of promising attacking sequences, but didn’t do much to test Guzan. On the other end of the field the Sounders centerbacks were all over the place, shutting down Atlanta’s attack and clearing any danger that they did manage to generate. The teams went into the half with the Sounders leading 1-0. Things didn’t change much in the second half, as Atlanta continued to push while Seattle seemed happy to let them tire themselves out running into the wall that is Nouhou, Xavier Arreaga and Yeimar Gomez Andrade.
6’ - Ruidíaz is trailed by an Atlanta defender as he comes to meet a corner from João Paulo, which he sends back in the direction it came from and into the top corner to open the scoring. 1-0
30’ - A great ball by Bruin puts Rowe in behind the Atlanta defense, but his ball back across the box is too close to Guzan and the ‘keeper snags it before it can reach Ruidíaz.
38’ - Atlanta puts together a good attacking moment and appear to have set up a perfect chance for Josef Martinez, but Nouhou’s perfectly timed intervention breaks it up.
85’ - Brad Smith comes in late with a sliding challenge on Brooks Lennon and is called for a penalty. Josef Martinez sends Stefan Cleveland the wrong way and evens the score. 1-1
90+3’ - The last chance of the game comes as Fredy Montero draws a foul to set up a João Paulo free kick. His service finds Xavier Arreaga in the middle of the box, but Guzan handles it easily.
Those CBs: 5 tackles, 1 block, 10 interceptions, 9 clearances, and 17 recoveries. Brian Schmetzer asked his CBs to stand up to Atlanta’s attack, and while they bent those three never broke. The passing from the back was good, too, with Gomez Andrade’s 80.56% passing serving as the low mark for the trio. Nouhou was particularly impressive throughout the game, winning 80% of his 11 duels and consistently frustrating Atlanta with both his defensive play and his ability to carry the ball. It’s notable that, in the end, it wasn’t one of the CBs who made the mistake that resulted in the penalty.
Just a little off: During the first couple games of the season, it was a pretty common refrain that the Sounders were doing things mostly right, but they just weren’t clicking once they got to that last pass or the finishing touch to turn a pretty good play into a goal. We’re obviously not in crisis, by any means, but that apparent lack of cohesion popped up again today as attacking sequences seemed to fizzle as they entered into Atlanta’s penalty area. Schmetzer’s side has one more game before the break, after which they should hopefully get Nico Lodeiro back, but it would be great to see the Sounders connecting passes and creating chances that lead to actual shots against Austin FC next week.
Welcome back: A year of watching soccer without fans was truly strange, absolutely surreal. It’s been great to see fans safely back at Lumen Field, but there’s just nothing like seeing ECS and other supporters in the Brougham End willing the Sounders on to glory. It hasn’t been the same without the waving flags and two-poles, to say nothing of the singing and chanting. Welcome back, I’m looking forward to seeing more of you in the future.
Did you see that?!?
Ruh-Rowe! #SoundersMatchday | #SEAvATL pic.twitter.com/fMrF4kx03Q— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) May 23, 2021
Kelyn Rowe was feeling himself, and I’m here for it.
He said what?!?
“The lesson learned similar to the question I asked after LAFC: Was it two points dropped or one gained? There was a feeling among some guys it was a good result against a quality team. But I don’t think anyone can say it was anything but two points dropped tonight.” - Brian Schmetzeer
One stat to tell the tale
57 — The Sounders won the duels battle by the slim margin of 57 to 52.
Man of the match
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Yeimar Gomez Andrade