A road draw at elevation against a good, young team while dealing with a significant list of absences is no small feat. With a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids, the Seattle Sounders did just that. The game wasn’t pretty — in fact it was boring and ugly, often both at once — but it’s the kind of game that a team with Supporters’ Shield ambitions has to get a result from.
The Sounders lost out on duels and took half as many shots as Colorado, but they did exactly enough to fly home with a point in their luggage. That was also enough to equal the MLS record for longest unbeaten streak to start a season.
The lone goal for the Sounders came after Alex Roldan lost the ball on a dribble but continued pursuing the ball. He managed to win the ball back and drove into the penalty area, set up his shot, and fired the ball through a defender’s legs, under Colorado goal keeper William Yarbrough, and into the far corner of the net.
Colorado equalized just before the hour mark when Michael Barrios gave Brad Smith the work and eventually got a little help from the Sounders wing back, as his deflection put the shot beyond Stefan Cleveland’s reach. Both sides had chances after that, but nothing to get terribly excited about. The Sounders will take the point and head home as they have a quick turnaround, hosting Houston Dynamo at Lumen Field on Wednesday at 6 PM.
6’ — The first real chance of the game falls to Raúl Ruidíaz who puts his close range header off of the post.
41’ — Alex Roldan’s persistence after losing the ball earns him a look at goal all alone inside the area, and he puts his shot under the diving ‘keeper to open the scoring. 1-0
58’ — Colorado ties the game up thanks to a deflected goal from Michael Barrios. 1-1
65’ — Cristian Roldan nearly does something magical, but his ball back across the goal off of João Paulo’s free kick is wide of the goal and short of any teammates.
Wingback worries: Brad Smith and Alex Roldan started at left and right wing back again tonight. Roldan had the goal for the Sounders and generally put in a good shift, although Jonathan Lewis gave him plenty of trouble, even if it seemed like he couldn’t buy a pass from a teammate for stretches in the second half. Smith was less impressive, repeatedly turning the ball over and failing to read the play ahead of him in the attack. Jimmy Medranda showed well in his one start at LWB, and may be in line for more minutes there. Roldan will be with the team for Wednesday’s game, but the team needs an option at RWB behind him. Kelyn Rowe saw some time at LWB tonight and didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but his defense will need to be better if he gets serious minutes in Roldan’s absence. A fill-in on one side and an underperforming player on the other in this Sounders system could be a recipe for trouble during the Gold Cup.
What it takes to win it all: It would be great to have a season like Barcelona Femeni’s in 2020-21 where they finished with 99 points through 34 games, scoring 167 goals and only giving up 15. That’s not going to happen any time soon in MLS, though, meaning that if a team wants to have a chance to win the Supporters Shield and/or the MLS Cup they’ve got to be able to grind out tough results on the road. The Sounders are still undefeated through 12 games, and it’s not because they’ve been steamrolling opponents week after week. They’re getting gutty wins when they should have had draws, and while they’ve had some draws that they should have won they’ve also gotten draws when other versions of the Sounders absolutely would have fallen apart. Tonight’s game was one of the latter.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder: The Sounders have been missing some guys. Some for a while — Nico Lodeiro has still only played 24 minutes this season — and others are more recent absences. Seattle should at least have one player back for Wednesday, as Xavier Arreaga’s restful trip to Copa America has ended, while Nouhou is still working his way back to full health and fitness. At times it’s been easy to forget that the Sounders have been playing without two of their three first-choice center backs recently, but it showed as Yeimar Gómez Andrade had a rare off game against Colorado. Getting Nouhou and Arreaga back should help, but the players missing elsewhere don’t have as immediate of answers. Will Bruin will be out for at least a month, while Lodeiro’s return still doesn’t have a time table. Brian Schmetzer has said there will be signings, but will they be enough to help lift the team?
Did you see that?!?
That’s a heck of a goal to open your MLS account with.
He said what?!?
Schmetzer on the result: "I think I’m probably 50/50. I think we probably could have done better to close it out. I can’t fault the effort." Was clearly annoyed that the goal came from wide after messaging about it.— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) July 5, 2021
One stat to tell the tale
1 — Alex Roldan is the only player in MLS this season with least 1 save as a goal keeper and 1 goal.
Man of the match
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