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Sounders vs. Charlotte, recap: Home is where the points are

Sounders win first encounter with Charlotte, 2-1.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders opened a five-game homestand against Charlotte FC on national television Sunday night. The Sounders sent the expansion side packing with little to show for their efforts, finishing the game with a 2-1 win.

For much of the night, the Sounders seemed destined to be left ruing missed chances, having created plenty of danger but lacking the finishing touch. Ultimately it was Charlotte that opened the scoring in the 21st minute. Albert Rusnák committed a foul on the edge of Seattle’s penalty area, and Jordy Alcívar stepped up to take the free kick. His shot went around the wall and struck off the far post, where Ben Bender was first to the rebound and put the visitors in front. Seattle continued to push, but found no luck in the first half.

In the opening stages of the second half it even looked like Charlotte might be most likely to get the next goal. Everything shifted in the 71st minute, though. Alex Roldán got the ball on the right wing and cut it back to his left around a defender before sending in a beautiful left-footed cross that found Jordan Morris unmarked in the area. Morris headed the ball down into the ground and in the back of the net, and from there the search for a winner was on.

Seattle kept probing and in the 80th minute Raúl Ruidíaz hit pay dirt. Nico Lodeiro found Ruidíaz with a tricky free kick from the right edge of the penalty area, and Ruidíaz’s initial shot was blocked but the rebound fell to his feet. He wheeled around to the top of the box and let loose an arcing blast that nestled sweetly in the top corner for what proved to be the winner.

The Sounders had to fight back from a frustrating deficit, but three points still counts the same at the end of the season. The league now goes into an international break, but the Sounders will be back in action on June 14 hosting the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Key moments

4’ — Some quick passing around in Charlotte’s half leads to a dangerous cross from Alex Roldan that finds Cristian Roldan, but the resulting shot is over the goal.

7’ — Obed Vargas hits a frozen rope from outside the box following a corner kick, but the effort misses by the finest of margins.

13’ — Raúl Ruidíaz flicks a ball into space down the right and Cristian Roldan runs onto it, sending a cross to the back post for Jordan Morris, but the header is just too tall.

21’ — On a free kick from an Albert Rusnák foul, Jordy Alcívar strikes the far post with the shot and Ben Bender is there to put the rebound away to open the scoring. 0-1 Charlotte

37’ — Cristian Roldan finds Morris running in the area again, but Morris’ finish goes wide of the far post.

40’ — After some exciting play from the Sounders, Charlotte come marching down and Frei is forced into a sprawling save by Ben Bender.

56’ — Charlotte with another close look as Jordy Alcívar takes a shot from distance that sends Frei diving, but the shot is wide in the end.

64’ — Nouhou races back alongside an attacker following a through ball. Nouhou attempts a header back to a sliding Frei, but the weight is wrong and Nouhou puts it out for a corner.

72’ — Alex Roldan cuts in from the wing to hit a left-footed cross towards the penalty spot. Morris rises up and heads the equalizer into the ground and the back of the net! 1-1

80’ — Raúl Ruidíaz with a Certified Banger! After a clever free kick routine yielded a blocked shot, Ruidíaz did it himself with a blast into the top corner! 2-1 Sounders

89’ — The Sounders get out on the run, and Ruidíaz finds Fredy Montero running into the area. Montero is able to get the ball under control, but his shot is blocked for a corner.

Quick thoughts

Jordan Morris’ gradual return: It’s fair to say that so far in 2022 Morris has not quite looked like himself. Or at least he hasn’t quite looked like himself at his peak. He’s shown flashes, burning players down the wings or putting in an instinctual finish or pass here and there, but he hasn’t yet put it all together since his return from the ACL injury that kept him out for much of 2021. In spite of that, though, across all competitions, he’s put together a decent 6 goals and 1 assist in 18 total appearances or about. He’s averaging about .40 goals per 90, which isn’t exactly elite, but it’s actually better than his career average and it’s exciting to think of how much better he could be down the stretch.

YAY-mar: Yeimar’s absence during the early stages of the season may prove to be a blessing down the road, as it provided Jackson Ragen with valuable experience. Ragen impressed during his run with the first-team, and certainly earned himself further opportunities, but against Charlotte Yeimar reminded all of us why that starting spot is his until someone takes it from him. He put in a Man of the Match quality performance, winning 6 of 7 duels — 5 of 5 on the ground — 2 of 2 tackles attempted, and adding 8 each of interceptions and recoveries. He was everywhere closing down attacks, and more than ably contributing with the ball at his feet.

The ‘A’ in “Sounders DNA” is for “Adversity”: The Sounders haven't made it easy at times this season. Maybe tonight’s 2-1 win is the season so far in microcosm, with the team showing well at times but unable to capitalize, then seizing the win while not at their best as their superior quality showed through. Anyone counting the team out, at any point, is making a mistake. Whether it’s an individual game where they trail with time running out, or a season where they sit low in the standings early on. The win against Charlotte laid down a marker as the team starts a five-game homestand at Lumen Field, where the Sounders are now 7-2-0, +15 in all competitions this season. They’re also now in 10th place in the West on 16 points, with the next three teams ahead of them all on 18 points and having played two more games. Greater glory is still well within reach.

Did you see that?!?

Nobody’s doing it like Raúl Ruidíaz.

He said what?!?

One stat to tell the tale

55 — Seattle won 55 duels to Charlotte’s 35, a 61% win rate.


Poll

Man of the match

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Yeimar
    (392 votes)
  • 6%
    Alex Roldan
    (56 votes)
  • 44%
    Raúl Ruidíaz
    (392 votes)
  • 4%
    Jordan Morris
    (44 votes)
884 votes total Vote Now