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Sounders vs. LAFC, recap: A little good, a little bad

Sounders and LAFC settle for a 1-1 draw at Lumen Field.

Hollie Coates-Seamster/Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders started a busy Seattle sports Saturday with a 1-1 home draw against LAFC. The game was pretty even in most regards, with the Sounders edging the league leaders in most aspects outside of the final score.

dThe first half was about as open as it could be, with both sides controlling the game for stretches. Both teams took 6 shots, and possession was split 51.9% to 48.1% in favor of the Sounders, but Stefan Frei was the busier of the two goalkeepers, having to make four strong, if not necessarily spectacular, saves. The Sounders created plenty of dangerous moments, even outside of the 6 shots, with Jordan Morris causing constant problems for the LAFC defense, but the side was missing the last little bit of sharpness.

In the second half it looked like Seattle may have found the spark they’d need to break the game open and make it three wins in three games to start the homestand. Just ahead of the hour mark the Sounders were pressing LA as they worked the ball around the defense, when Albert Rusnák stepped up to intercept a pass from Maxime Crépeau, then drove towards goal and slotted his shot inside the near post to open the scoring. Seattle kept pushing, but it was LA who had the next goal, capitalizing on a couple of mistakes from the Sounders to set up a wonderful header from Cristian Arango that left Stefan Frei with no chance. There were still chances in the game, but in the end the two sides went home splitting the points. The Sounders have two games left in their homestand, hosting Sporting Kansas City next Saturday for another noon game.

Key moments

12’ — The first shot for the Sounders comes off of a short corner set up for a cross from Alex Roldan to the head of Jordan Morris, but the timing isn’t quite right.

15’ — Cristian Roldan plays a ball for Morris to run onto. Morris beats a man and drops the ball back to Nico Lodeiro, but Lodeiro’s attempt goes out for a throw-in.

28’ — LAFC get out on a quick counter, but Stefan Frei holds firm in his position and makes himself big to block the shot. He stays down for a bit after the play, but appears to be okay.

37’ — José Cifuentes cuts inside from the left and gets a shot off, but Frei catches it in his chest.

39’ — Jordan Morris finds himself with the ball in a dangerous position again — this time at the penalty spot — and picks out a teammate, but Albert Rusnák’s shot is high and wide.

40’ — Rusnák plays Morris behind this time, but Maxime Crépeau makes an excellent play to step up and cut out the ball before Morris gets there.

48’ — Seattle comes out of halftime shooting, with Rusnák taking a look from outside the box that Crépeau catches, then Cristian Roldan pulling up from outside and just missing.

58’ — Albert Rusnák! He applies the final touch to the press, stepping in to pick off a pass from the GK, driving at goal, and putting his shot beyond a diving Crépeau! 1-0 Sounders

64’ — Twice LA looked certain to score, and twice Stefan Frei comes up with a crucial save! First with good positioning to close the angle, then a great diving reaction save.

79’ — LAFC levels the game after Nouhou goes down and fails to recover on the play before Cristian Arango hits a looping header over Frei. 1-1

90’+6 — With some of the final touches of the game, Rusnák and Will Bruin work the ball down the field before finding Jimmy Medranda with a square pass, whose shot is caught.

Quick thoughts

Spectacular Stefan Frei: The Sounders have only kept two clean sheets in MLS so far this season, which may obstruct just how good Stefan Frei has been. This game stands as something of a microcosm for the season so far, with Frei making a number of really good saves but unable to keep the shutout and all three points after the defense crumbled at a weak point in front of him. His performances should be earning him league recognition, but he’ll need some help if he’s going to be in the conversation for Goalkeeper of the Year come the Fall.

Jordan, the Creator: It’s pretty easy after this one to point at Morris’s game today and complain that he’s missing some sort of killer instinct and confidence in his finishing, but the reality is that he’s operating as more of a creative player in this Sounders’ attack. For as much as we’d all love to see him scoring more goals, he’s playing in a way that causes huge problems for opposing teams. As Brian Schmetzer noted in his press conference, Morris is great on the wing and in space, and as he moves towards the goal and defenses try to shut him down it creates space for teammates that he picks out with ease in even better spots. He’s not been perfect, but he’s ready to break out as a creator.

Obert Varsnák: The Sounders midfield pairing of Obed Vargas and Albert Rusnák seems like it’s here to stay, at least for as long as the team is without João Paulo. As such, it’s time to christen a nickname. I put forward: Obert Varsnák. It rolls off the tongue, and encapsulates the way that the two players are becoming one excellent midfield. Long live Obert Varsnák.

Did you see that?!?

Stefan Frei is a mythic being.

He said what?!?

One stat to tell the tale

13.9% — 13.9% of Jordan Morris’s touches were chance-creating actions, with 5 chances from 36 touches.


Poll

Man of the match

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Stefan Frei
    (703 votes)
  • 3%
    Jordan Morris
    (31 votes)
  • 14%
    Albert Rusnák
    (125 votes)
  • 0%
    Xavier Arreaga
    (5 votes)
864 votes total Vote Now