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Andy Thomas delivers in rare shootout victory

Sounders dropped a 2-0 lead against Louisville, but managed to come out on top after going to penalties to start their U.S. Open Cup journey.

Last Updated
7 min read
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders hosted Louisville City FC in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 on Wednesday night. It took all of regulation and extra time, as well as eight rounds of penalties, but Seattle ultimately came out on top of the 2-2 draw by winning the shootout 5-4 with goalkeeper Andrew Thomas making three saves and converting the winning kick. It was their first shootout win since the 2016 MLS Cup, ending a four-game shootout losing streak.

It started not looking like they would need penalty, running out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a first half goal from Paul Rothrock in the 41st minute and a 63rd minute goal from Danny Musovski. Both goals were well worked, with Rothrock’s coming off of a dangerous cross from Georgi Minoungou on the right that found Rothrock alone near the spot and he volleyed home from there. Musovski’s came off of a set piece, with service provided from Danny Leyva whose free kick wrapped behind the defense to perfectly set up the forward.

Unfortunately, a few minutes after Musovski doubled the lead, Louisville pulled one back. Alex Roldan was called for a somewhat suspect handball in the penalty area while he was appealing for a handball himself. Center back Sean Totsch stepped up to the spot and calmly put the ball in the back of the net. Still, with a one-goal lead the Sounders attempted and nearly succeeded in seeing out the win. Unfortunately in the 89th minute Louisville put a throw-in into the box where it bounced around a bit, coming off at least one Sounders player in the process, before attacker Jorge Gonzalez put away the equalizer. Seattle pushed for a winner and nearly found it during the nine minutes of stoppage time, but couldn’t find it as the game went into extra time.

Both sides slammed themselves against the doors for a cool thirty minutes of extra time, but no one found any joy. Not the players, not the fans in the stadium, not the coaching or technical staff, not the people watching from home. A game that should have been closed out in regulation rolled on into a penalty shootout to decide who would advance.

After eight rounds of penalties with both goalkeepers coming up with several saves in a display of some truly bad penalty kicks, Seattle came out on top. Danny Leyva, Antino Perez, Snyder Brunell and Kelani Kosa-Rienzi had all made penalties to put Seattle level with Louisville on four made PKs a piece as Thomas stepped up to the spot with a chance to end the game. Thomas shrugged off Sota Kitahara, who was ready to step up for Seattle, and the goalkeeper left absolutely no doubt as he confidently walked up to the spot, took a quick run-up and hammered his shot to the opposing ‘keeper’s left leaving him no chance to stop it. After a stressful opening game, the Sounders will next host Phoenix Rising in the Round of 16 on May 21-22.

Key moments

2 - Shot! The first shot of the game belongs to Alex Roldan, who takes the feed from Georgi Minoungou at the top of the box, but his effort is into the trees.

22 - Chance, Louisville. The visitors pile on a series of corners as the ball pings around in the box, but never quite get a real look at goal from it.

40 - Chance, Louisville. Adrien Perez cuts in from the right on Cody Baker and fires a shot that hits the post.

41 - GOAL! Paul Rothrock puts Seattle in front with a volley from the spot off of a sweet cross from Minoungo. 1-0 Sounders

43 - A loose touch at the top of the box from Danny Leyva sets up a dangerous shot for Louisville, but it’s just off the mark and out for a goal kick.

47 - Stuart Hawkins comes up with a big tackle to break up a Louisville attack, putting the ball out for a throw.

63 - GOAL! Danny Leyva sends in a beautiful curling cross that is right on the dome of Danny Musovski, who heads home to extend the lead! 2-0 Sounders

67 - Penalty, Louisville. Alex Roldan is called for an odd handball in the area, and Sean Totsch puts the penalty away to halve the deficit for Louisville. 2-1

72 - SAVE! Louisville get a dangerous shot through traffic from the top of the box, but Thomas dives to his right to smother the chance.

89 - Goal, Louisville. The ball bounces around in the area on a throw-in and it’s poked home by Jorge Gonzalez to level the score. 2-2

90+1 - Minoungou has a chance to put the game to bed with a shot from 12 yards out, but the ball takes a bounce and he lifts his shot over the bar.

107 - Sota Kitahara and Snyder Brunell combine as they run down the right side before Brunell squares the ball for Musovski, but the striker is called for a foul.

Louisville Penalty 1 - Louisville’s Totsch stutters and clangs his shot off the crossbar to start the shootout with a miss. 0-0

Seattle Penalty 1 - Musovski steps up, stutters, and has his shot saved. Both teams start with a miss. 0-0

Louisville Penalty 2 - Andrew Thomas saves the second attempt, denying Elijah Wynder. Louisville with two misses. 0-0

Seattle Penalty 2 - Danny Leyva takes his penalty and the ‘keeper gets a hand to it, but can’t keep it out as he reaches back. Seattle have the first made penalty. 1-0

Louisville Penalty 3 - Arturo Ordonez calmly sends his penalty into the back of the net, beating Thomas despite him guessing correctly. 1-1

Seattle Penalty 3 - Antino Lopez freezes the GK and puts his penalty down the middle to retake the lead. 2-1

Louisville Penalty 4 - Taylor Davila goes to Thomas’s left, and Thomas gets his hands to it but can only put the shot into the side netting. 2-2

Seattle Penalty 4 - Leo Chu does a goofy stutter step and tries to fire down the middle, but doesn’t fool the GK and his shot is saved. 2-2

Louisville Penalty 5 - Niall McCabe sends Thomas the wrong way and slams his penalty home to go in front. 3-2

Seattle Penalty 5 - Snyder Brunell confidently goes upper left with his penalty and the ‘keeper can’t get to it. 3-3

Louisville Penalty 6 - Andrew Thomas comes up with another save, this time denying Sam Gleadle with a diving stop. 3-3

Seattle Penalty 6 - Osaze De Rosario steps up to the spot, but his penalty is solidly blocked by Daniel Faundez. 3-3

Louisville Penalty 7 - Jansen Wilson sends Thomas to the ‘keeper’s right and finishes down the middle to go back ahead. 4-3

Seattle Penalty 7 - Kalani Kossa-Rienzi fully sends the GK to the wrong side, finishing calmly the other way. 4-4

Louisville Penalty 8 - Kyle Adams attempts to go to Andrew Thomas’s right, but Thomas comes up big to deny him. 4-4

Seattle Penalty 8 - Andrew Thomas steps up to the spot and smashes the ball beyond his opposite number to send Seattle through. 5-4 Seattle

Quick thoughts

Paul Rothrock takes his chances: When Seattle and Louisville went into halftime, Paul Rothrock had scored three goals in 202 career minutes of U.S. Open Cup play for the Sounders. That goes along with one goal in 66 minutes of MLS league play with the club. He’s gotten on the field in four league games so far this season, but his longest appearance has been 12 minutes. With the team struggling to find a consistent or cohesive attacking approach or identity, let alone goals, it’s beyond time for Rothrock to get a real shot with the first team. He did play another 35 minutes before coming off in the second half, bringing him to 237 U.S. Open Cup minutes.

Playing through a rough patch: I am a bonafide Josh Atencio believer. I’m a fan, I think he’s great, and I think he’s going to get even better. I also think it has to be acknowledged that he’s not been at his best of late, and he had a particularly rough go of it against Louisville. At his best Atencio is both a calm and intelligent presence in possession, poised in defense, and a driving force in the attack when he makes a foray forward. In this game, his touch often let him down as he was frequently having to stretch for balls just beyond his reach, or reacting late to a play and committing a foul instead of winning back possession. Schmetzer noted that Atencio was recently battling an illness and it’s hard to know when a player is best served by playing through a rough patch or being rested and forced to win back their spot, but it might be time to try giving Atencio a break.

Places up for grabs: With the team struggling and the schedule full, it should be a foregone conclusion that no player’s spot – be that in the starting XI or on the bench – is guaranteed. With a heavily rotated lineup that only included a couple of players to start who have realistically or regularly been considered starters for the Sounders this season or last, this seemed like a game for players to make a case for themselves to see increased opportunities. Some players did that, notably the goal scorers Rothrock and Musovski. Unfortunately, the usual starters who featured did something like the opposite of that. Atencio’s struggles have already been addressed, but Roldan was given the captain’s armband as he re-took his starting right back spot and was not only at fault for the penalty as he was too busy appealing for an unlikely handball to notice that he was giving one up himself, but just generally struggled to have any kind of impact on the game. Similarly, Léo Chú entered the game at the start of extra time and had almost no real impact during his half-hour of play, then followed that up with what may have been the worst penalty of the bunch. With the game there to be won, the senior players should have been able to grab hold of the match and secure victory for their side. If they can’t do it against an admittedly very good USL Championship side, players who had more positive showings in their places should get the chance to do the same against MLS opposition.

Man of the match

Thomas – I don’t know how much more he could have done on the regulation goals, but he did make four saves and three more in the shootout while also clinching the win with a shot from the spot are good enough to earn you the honors.