The Seattle Sounders drew their second straight home match Sunday night when their match with Austin FC ended 0-0. They remain undefeated and atop the Supporters’ Shield standings, but have some interesting problems to solve if they want to keep the pace as the best team in the league. Here’s the five things we saw last night.
I understand that this may be overstating the obvious but the Sounders are worse off without their talisman Nicolas Lodeiro. It’s rather remarkable that Seattle has been able to put up this record without Lodeiro, but Sunday night’s match showed what the Sounders are missing without him. Austin did a great job pressuring Brad Smith and Alex Roldan. Seattle just didn’t have the creativity to break down their organization. The sooner Lodeiro can play, the better.
Bruin is a better partner for Ruidiaz
Fredy Montero got his first start of 2021 last night and actually played really well. He played more as a second attacking midfielder partner with Cristian Roldan than he did as a second striker partner for Raul Ruidiaz. Montero’s game was really useful in transition, but left Ruidiaz stranded on an island to deal with the centerbacks alone. Will Bruin is seemingly a better partner for this system. He does the dirty work to get the offense in dangerous positions, but more importantly he occupies the defenders to create space for Ruidiaz. Of course, it could be awhile until we see the partnership again as Ruidiaz could be out until mid-July with international duty.
Need some sort of pacey option
A lot of the preseason national narrative about the Sounders has revolved around Jordan Morris and his torn ACL. It’s sort of interesting because he was on loan with Swansea and the Sounders were planning on a future without Morris anyway. However, I think we’re seeing what sort of player the Sounders need to get if they want to keep up with their top-of-the table pace. Seattle needs to have a player who can break the lines with speed. Cristian Roldan and Brad Smith have been doing it decently, but having a player with a lot of pace could be really useful to breakdown a team that sets up like Austin did.
Best defense in the league
Not everything we saw last night was bad. The Sounders continued to dominate the game defensively. Austin toiled for 90 minutes offensively because they had no options. Nouhou came up with a crucial block one of Austin’s only chances of the game, while Stef Cleveland made the one big save he was asked to make on the other. I think their wingers are still trying to cross the ball to the back post this morning and Yeimar is still heading them away. Seattle has still yet to concede a goal from open play. Incredible stuff.
Cecilio Domínguez is the new public enemy No. 1
Lumen Field with Sounders fans in the terraces is one of the world’s most beautiful sights. It’s even more special when an opposing team’s player is flopping all over the place. Domínguez started the night off baiting Xavier Arreaga into a soft yellow card in the 2nd minute and he didn’t let up.
I imagine this is a name Sounders fans won’t soon forget. I think we appreciate the finer parts of dark arts, given we’ve had the likes of Clint Dempsey & Ozzie Alonso suit up in Rave Green, but don’t insult us with bad diving and flopping. It’s just embarrassing.