The Seattle Sounders claimed a 2-1 win over Columbus Crew that will likely be remembered by both sides for years to come. The win secures Seattle’s grip on first place in the West, their 42 points putting them three points clear of Sporting Kansas City in second, and closes the gap in the Supporters’ Shield race to four points behind New England Revolution.
The game was frustrating through the first half and much of the second, as both teams struggled to give either goalkeeper much to worry about. The Sounders had the better chances, and forced Eloy Room into a handful of interventions, but it was Columbus who grabbed the first goal.
The Crew sent in a corner that found its way to Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 78th minute, and the striker did exactly what you’d expect him to. The Sounders pushed over the next 10 minutes and eventually got their reward via a vindicating finish from Xavier Arreaga, who put away a Jimmy Medranda cross with a deft touch that beat Room and the rest of his defense.
Only about a minute later Medranda set up the winner with his second assist of the game. His layoff in the box set Will Bruin up for the winner, and a great goal for his first of the season. The nine points from this road stand was gritty and purely Sounders, and they’ll have a chance to keep this run going with the Portland doubleheader at Lumen Field on Aug. 29.
5’ — The Sounders get the first real chance of the day, as Yeimar Gómez Andrade connects with a João Paulo free kick, but Eloy Room puts it over the bar for a corner.
25’ — Fredy Montero rips a shot from outside the box, but Room is able to get in front of it and keep it out of the net.
36’ — Some creative passing from the Sounders gets the ball to a wide open Alex Roldan at the edge of the box, but his cross into the area is too close to Room to cause any trouble.
49’ — João Paulo lets loose a shot from outside the box after a drive by Raúl Ruidíaz, but the cross bar denies the Sounders their opener.
74’ — Stefan Cleveland is called into action for his first save as he leaps to put a shot from Luis Diaz over the bar.
78’ — Bradley Wright-Phillips opens the scoring, putting away a loose ball from a corner directly in front of the goal. 0-1 Columbus
88’ — Xavier Arreaga gets on the end of a Jimmy Medranda cross amidst a crowd of Columbus players and calmly sends it over the line to tie the game! 1-1
89’ — Will Bruin puts some respect on his name, getting his first goal of the season with a lovely curler into the far corner to take the lead! 2-1 Sounders
Air-reaga: Columbus’ goal came as Arreaga lost a header on a corner to Jonathan Mensah. Shane O’Neill then failed to react as Wright-Phillips picked up the loose ball and tucked it away. That one incident stands out, but it’s also worth using it to draw attention to a quiet strength of Arreaga’s: he very rarely loses aerial duels. Coming into the Columbus game, Arreaga had only lost a total of 13 aerial duels in his 14 MLS games in 2021. He’s only finished a game with less than 60% of aerial duels in 5 games. Arreaga is legitimately good in the air, despite any shortcomings there might be in his game, and it’s a significant part of the defense’s success in 2021.
The Bear is back! Bruin finally got his first MLS goal in 2021. It couldn’t have been much more timely, either. As the Sounders pushed for their third win in a three-game road trip, Bruin received a little layoff from Medranda and with veteran composure, he lined up his shot and beat Eloy Room to the far post with a beautiful curling shot to give the Sounders a two-minute comeback to go from 0-1 to 2-1. Bruin has played well in his 13 appearances ahead of this game, but for all his quality he only had one assist to show for it. This goal was vindication, just as much as it was victory. Hopefully, this goal opens the floodgates as the Sounders continue to look for some scoring help from players not named Raúl Ruidíaz.
End of an era: Brian Schmetzer mentioned in his on-field interview after the game that this was the last game for Djimi Traore before he heads off to his new opportunity in Europe. Having already said goodbye to Gonzalo Pineda, Traore’s departure marks something of an end of an era for this Sounders squad and the coaching staff. Schmetzer took two great former players and turned them into intriguing and sought-after coaching candidates. We still don’t know what this next era holds, or who will be a part of it, but there are pretty big shoes to fill. It’s worth taking a moment to recognize what Pineda and Traore were a part of. Pineda contributed to three trips to MLS Cup and one win, Traore was there for one more final and trophy lift. They’ve helped to build an incredible team and developed players in ways that will impact the Sounders for years to come.
Did you see that?!?
Will Bruin opens his account in fabulous fashion.
He said what?!?
Will Bruin on his newfound versatility: "Columbus probably didn’t have any idea how to defend me as a right winger, I didn’t know how to play right winger, but it’s a good option to have." pic.twitter.com/1IEJxQK9Qw— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) August 22, 2021
One stat to tell the tale
111 — 111 seconds passed between Xavier Arreaga’s tying goal and Will Bruin’s winner.
Man of the match
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