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The Review: Sounders take a trip Back East

One thing to like and dislike from each of the two games.

Last Updated
3 min read
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In quick succession this week the Sounders played two Eastern Conference opponents with varying outcomes. First, on Saturday night, they lost 2-1 to DC United in a match that had somethings to like but ultimately the lack of points far outweighed the good. They followed up on Tuesday night, when thye resumed the postponed match from March 9 against the Philadelphia Union. The Sounders won 3-2, collecting all 3 points, but couldn’t avoid some worrying trends.

Let’s take a look at what is worth liking and what’s worth worrying about from this wacky week in Soundersland.

One thing to like from the DC game

I think approaching the DC game from back to front makes the most sense. Sure, Seattle starts the game well! However, the Sounders were downright good for the entire second half, playing down a man on the road against an Eastern Conference team. Seattle did what every good soccer team should do: limit the other team’s chances at scoring while creating chances for themselves. It sounds simple, but doing so a man down is extremely difficult. Cristian Roldan should do better to score the chance of the half, but I think the approach as a whole over the course of that half is commendable.

One thing to hate from the DC game

The entire sequence that led to the penalty and the sending off of Stefan Frei was a defensive lapse we’re all too familiar with. By the time Jared Stroud is fouled by Frei and the penalty is awarded, several breakdowns have happened. Let’s start at the top. I’m not particularly enthused any time a centerback has all the time and space in the world to pick out a pass like that. I think the pressing structure from Albert Rusnák, Jordan Morris, and Obed Vargas needs to do better to funnel the pass to the showing fullback or to the central midfielder.

Once the ball is played over the top is when the clown show really gets started. I know a lot of folks think Cody Baker plays this situation poorly, but I am here to present a counter argument. He is in the position he’s in because they’re trying to play an offside trap, and both centerbacks aren’t in the correct shape to make that happen. I actually think he does extremely well to recover ground on Stroud, positioned himself well to put the attacker off balance, and gave the goalkeeper every opportunity to make a save. I am most frustrated with Frei being a statue on the play and not doing anything at all to make a move to engage the ball until it was too late.

One thing to like from the Union game

This is a match where if you only focus on the first half, you come away with the best vibes all season. The Sounders were absolutely flying in the first half, largely due to the play of Vargas. It helps the vibes a lot when you score a goal from literal midfield, that’s for sure, but I liked how Seattle structured their attack in the first half.

The Sounders did really well to compress the Union’s diamond midfield, work the ball up the field, and once they were established in the final third they were able to use Vargas as an auxiliary attacker to great success. Vargas created his goal out of nothing and does extremely well in the box to force the penalty.

One thing to hate from the Union game

The existential dread that life is meaningless and everything bad that can happen will happen. Just kidding. It’s just a soccer game. But man, the Sounders sure don’t do themselves any favors, do they?

I really don’t want to dwell too much on the second half against the Union. The two goals come one minute apart but Seattle do a good job to see the game out after that. More of this in the future please.