The Seattle Sounders started a three-game road trip with a 1-1 draw against FC Dallas. Seattle came from behind to claim only their second result after trailing at halftime this season.
A sluggish start for the Sounders that had a couple of moments of quality left the team in an early hole. Jader Obrian opened the scoring for Dallas in the 15th minute when Paul Arriola played him in behind the defense. Seattle got caught upfield with no one in any real position to stop the attack, and Obrian beat Stefan Frei to the near post after his shot deflected off Reed Baker-Whiting. Both sides had chances throughout the next half-hour, but the closest anyone came to finding another goal was a header from Dallas’ Facundo Quignon that struck the crossbar.
Just before the hour mark, Seattle tied things up through their fullbacks. Baker-Whiting got on the ball wide on the left and went to work on Arriola. The teenager made a move to get to the endline, rode a challenge from the veteran and clipped a cross to the back post where Alex Roldan laced a volley that took a slight deflection before nestling in off of the goal post.
Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan each had opportunities to claim all three points for the Sounders, but the final touch from each just wasn't quite up to the task. In the end the road point isn't a bad result and keeps Seattle in a good position as the playoffs approach, but it's still a little frustrating between the end result and the performance along the way. They're back in action on Wednesday when they head back out to face the last place Colorado Rapids.
4’ – Nico Lodeiro gets to the byline and plays in a cross that reaches Jordan Morris at the back post, but he mistimes his jump on the header.
15’ – Goal. Paul Arriola plays a ball through the backline for Jader Obrian to run onto, and Obrian makes room for himself with a cutback and beats Stefan Frei at the near post. 1-0 Dallas
39’ – Albert Rusnak attempts a switch for Jordan Morris but it’s cut out and falls to Reed Baker-Whiting. Baker-Whiting carries it forward and gets a shot off, but it’s saved.
57’ – GOAL! Alex Roldan ties it up! Baker-Whiting rides a challenge from Arriola and sends in a lofted cross from the end line that Roldan volleys in off the post! 1-1
79’ – Cristian Roldan has a chance to make it two off of a set piece for the Sounders, but his initial effort bounces around the box and his follow up is just wide of goal.
90’ +8 – With the final touch of the game, Jordan Morris attempts to play a ball through to a wide open Nouhou after Josh Atencio initially played him in, but Ema Twumasi blocks it.
Drippy defense: The goals allowed record for the Sounders this season still looks very good, but the backline that had been airtight for much of the season has been letting drips and leaks through in a way that seems to threaten something worse. It’s not just a backline issue, though, it’s the way the entire team is playing. The team hasn’t been difficult to beat individually or as a whole, and it’s meant seeing the same kinds of goals scored against them over and over again. Players don’t seem to trust the guys around them and are overcommitting to try to help, leaving gaps that are easily exploited. There are individual issues, but the root of the problem is deeper than that.
Growing into the game: Baker-Whiting has been one of the most highly-touted players in the Sounders developmental system for a while now, but he’s not always been able to turn the abilities and traits that have drawn the attention of international scouts into on-field performances. Against FC Dallas that wasn’t the case. He was the last player beat by Obrian on the game’s first goal, but he was much more involved when Seattle tied it up as he did great work to beat Paul Arriola and put in a great cross for Alex Roldan. He also contributed all over the field, winning 6 of 12 duels, claiming nine recoveries and pitching in five clearances to go along with 91% pass completion on 65 attempts, three successful dribbles, and of course his assist. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it’s the kind of game that should earn a player more opportunities.
The return of Cristian Roldan: You don't need to be told how much time Cristian Roldan has missed this season between concussion issues and national team duty (he has 11 MLS appearances for 829 minutes so far), or how much the Sounders have missed him. I'll just say how good it was to see him out on the field wearing a Sounders jersey again. There was some brief concern after he took an arm to the face, and it may take some time before he's back to his best, but what matters is that he made it back. He nearly made his return perfect with his chance on goal in the 79th minute, but it's more fitting that this game was about progress instead.
Did you see that?!?
That’s one to remember for Reed Baker-Whiting and Alex Roldán.
He said what?!?
One stat to tell the tale
459 – It had been 459 days since Alex Roldán's last MLS goal, which came against the Vancouver Whitecaps on June 14, 2022.