Three days after winning the Concacaf Champions League final, the Seattle Sounders got back to MLS play with a 0-2 loss on the road against FC Dallas. Brian Schmetzer started a heavily rotated lineup that featured only one player who started on Wednesday night against Pumas UNAM, as Nouhou started as the left-sided centerback in a three-back formation after coming out in the 11th minute with a thigh contusion in the final. Despite the rotation and a horrific playing surface, the Sounders looked likely to come away with a result through the first half with a bit of luck on defense and a great look for Leo Chú that went wanting.
It would be easy to blame a road loss on youth and inexperience in a game like this, but ultimately Dallas didn’t really start to pull away until Schmetzer subbed in a number of first-choice players. In the 58th minute Alex Roldan entered the game for Jimmy Medranda, who appeared to be experiencing some cramping, then five minutes later Cristian Roldan and Albert Rusnák — along with Sam Adeniran — came on for Will Bruin, Josh Atencio and Leo Chú. Two minutes after the change, Jesus Ferreira found the first goal of the night. Seattle had forays into the attack with the subs on the field, but never really gave Dallas too much to worry about. Then in the 88th minute Paul Arriola ghosted into the box completely unmarked from the left and volleyed home the finisher. It’s a loss, and maybe more frustrating for how it happened, but it certainly doesn’t overshadow how great the win was on Wednesday. The Sounders are back in action on Wednesday in a US Open Cup match against the San Jose Earthquake at Starfire before hosting Minnesota United in league play next Sunday afternoon.
4’ — Dallas wins a free kick near the top of the box after a tackle from Josh Atencio. The service sets up a header off the post that’s cleared, but the play is called back for offside.
10’ — Another Dallas header creates danger as Matt Hedges puts an attempt off the crossbar, but it’s cleared and the Sounders get a counter that earns a corner kick.
24’ — Leo Chú gets the Sounders’ best chance so far as Fredy Montero releases him on his own after a Dallas free kick, but pressure catches up to him and his shot is wide in the end.
30’ — Dallas creates more danger from a set piece, another corner and a header that beats several Sounders and fortunately Paxton Pomykal before going out for a goal kick.
60’ — Alan Velasco lets off a shot from outside the box, forcing a diving save from Stefan Cleveland. The save results in a loose ball, but Cleveland gathers it.
65’ — FC Dallas open the scoring with Jesus Ferreira hitting it home from the penalty spot with the defense scrambling around him. 0-1 Dallas
69’ — Dallas nearly doubles the lead following a slip on the horrible surface from Nouhou, but AB Cissoko blocks the shot and the follow up is wide of the post.
88’ — Paul Arriola doubles Dallas’s lead with a volley from the left side of the box as he runs in unmarked on the weak side. 0-2 Dallas
Jeez, Wednesday was fun: Remember how fun Wednesday was? The game was great; the Sounders played flowing, imposing football that deprived Pumas of much in the way of real chances while racking up another impressive home win in CCL. The 3-0 win was the team’s fourth win with at least 3 goals in the tournament, and the largest margin of victory in a CCL final to date. After the game followed celebrations, both on the field and off. It was a delight at the time, and has only grown more delightful to look back on and see how much it meant to every player and every member of the staff, because that’s how much it meant to all of us. Let’s hold onto that, because it’s a lot more important than this game was.
Ethan Dobbelaere is officially back: Ethan Dobbelaere had technically been on loan to MFK Vyskov in the Czech second tier since February. His loan was officially ended ahead of this game, but Dobbelaere had been back in Seattle since late March following an injury that occurred during his month or so in the Czech Republic. He’s been training and recovering with the team since then, but hadn’t been able to play until formally being recalled from his loan. In his 80 minutes he was solid, and at times even a little spectacular, as his touch and technical ability were often a part of any movement into the attack for the Sounders from his spot as right wingback. His defensive contributions weren’t bad, either, winning both of his attempted tackles and 3 of 6 ground duels, along with 4 recoveries, an interception and a clearance. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it was enough to build some confidence.
Be like Taylor Swift (Shake It Off): This game, played on what was effectively a mossy slip-n-slide in Frisco, TX, with a heavily-rotated lineup, wasn’t one to remember for anyone but maybe Jesus Ferreira, Paul Arriola and their families and friends. The Sounders will be best served by wadding this one up, chucking it into the wastebasket with whatever NBA Jam commentator catch phrase they prefer, and getting back on the plane to head home. More than anything, this serves as an opportunity to reset before moving into the meatiest part of their calendar. With Open Cup and league play, Seattle has two-game weeks for the rest of this month and the potential to make or break the season. It’s time to get a couple good nights’ sleep in their own beds and go again.
Did you see that?!?
Great recovery from Jackson Ragen! pic.twitter.com/GsLPP5DBgG— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) May 8, 2022
There wasn’t a lot to get excited about, but I’ll celebrate a good tackle as much as anything.
He said what?!?
Stefan Cleveland on how team's get up for facing them after winning CCL: "The target just got a little bit bigger. Now we have to step up and defend that."— Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) May 8, 2022
One stat to tell the tale
43 — Seattle and Dallas split the duels evenly, with each side winning 43 duels.
Man of the match