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Sounders trying to avoid getting drawn into extracurriculars

Brian Schmetzer and Nico Estevez have predictably different perspectives on several flashpoints.

Last Updated
2 min read
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

TUKWILA, Wash. – One of the conceits of a three-game playoff series is that it allows for narratives and animosities to build. After one game of the first-round series between the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas, there’s already plenty of fodder.

In his postgame comments, FC Dallas head coach Nico Estevez voiced several frustrations. The first was around the first-half penalty. From Esteves’ perspective, not only should Marco Farfan’s kicking of Cristian Roldan not have resulted in a penalty, but he insisted Alex Roldan was allowed to take the throw that led to it too far forward.

“We were very unlucky when the ref called the PK,” Estevez said. “There’s a clear rule that when the attacker changes the direction of his leg to get advantage, it’s not a PK. It’s a new rule. We had a meeting with the coaches’ committee. I have no idea why the VAR didn’t apply that rule. It’s clear for me.

“The throw-in is also coming from a more advanced position than it should be. It should be 10 yards behind. Those are details that are not going our way this season.  They are always focused on the big chances and I told them the important ones are the small ones and you don’t care about that. It’s sad it happened.”

Estevez also was frustrated that there was no card on the play where Alex Roldan effectively fell into Alan Velasco, ultimately resulting in Velasco coming off injured. Estevez thought there should have at least been a yellow on the play, while some fans even suggested Roldan should have been ejected.

Unsurprisingly, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer had a different perspective on both.

“Was it a penalty in my opinion? Yeah,” Schmetzer said. “Was Alex maybe two yards higher up the field? Yeah. But that stuff happens. You have to give Alex credit of trying to create tempo. If it had been his team, I’m sure [Estevez] would say ‘penalty.’

“The sad thing about Velasco’s injury, is it’s really unfortunate. I feel bad about that. Alex looked like he got clipped from behind and his momentum just pushed him forward. I don’t think there was anything malicious in it. It’s just unfortunate. He lost another key player [Geovane Jesus] to ACL earlier in year, so I’m sure he’s feeling really snakebitten.”

There was also an incident that VAR checked following Jordan Morris’ goal when Paul Arriola went to the ground after the play. Although there were no replays on the broadcast, Schmetzer said their tactical camera showed Jackson Ragen and Arriola bumping into one another.

“He was running the celebrate with his teammates and they just brushed each other,” Schmetzer said. “I don’t think there was anything malicious in that, either.”

Holding a 1-0 series lead, Schmetzer is cognizant that Dallas will be looking for any edge they can get and is reminding his players not to get sucked into these types of distractions.

“We talked about that,” he said. “Stay out of any of that. Stick up for your teammates if something bad happens. If there’s a controversial call or play, stay out of it. There’s yellow-card accumulation, you can’t afford to have any sort of suspensions, plus it’s not how I want the team to play. No one wants to be thought of as a dirty team.”

Reed Baker-Whiting update

Reed Baker-Whiting has been officially ruled out for Saturday’s game, but Brian Schmetzer said there’s a decent chance that he 18-year-old will be sufficiently recovered from his hamstring injury to be available for a potential Leg 3.