Seattle Sounders Surprise Atlanta United With 1-1 Draw

Sounders Surprise Atlanta United

ATLANTA, GEORGIA (July 15, 2018) — Seattle Sounders FC have wrapped up three-straight road matches.

In the three contests, the club produced five points, riding an unbeaten streak. Seattle kicked off travels with a victory over the Colorado Rapids, then a draw against the New England Revolution.

Seattle Sounders Surprise Atlanta United, Get 1-1 Draw in Front of MLS Record Crowd

However, the club’s biggest test came on Sunday.

Atlanta United, the first-place team in the MLS Western Conference, has no problem bringing fans into Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Sunday’s attendance of 72,243 broke an MLS attendance record already held by the club.

And those fans were loud.

However, the Sounders were able to silence the large crowd right before halftime. After a penalty kick decision was called against Atlanta defender Franco Escobar, Nicolás Lodeiro lined up for the shot.

His attempt went right past goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

However, the lead didn’t last long for Seattle. Instead, the home crowd was back in business after Josef Martínez scored the equalizing goal. Julian Gressel provided the assist.

The match remained 1-1 until the final whistle blew. Seattle shocked Atlanta, who were hoping to pick up an easy three points against the 10th-place Seattle Sounders.

Seattle even featured 10 men when defender Jordan McCrary was shown a second yellow card in the 63rd minute.

After the match, goalkeeper Stefan Frei said that Atlanta is a “difficult team to play against in their stadium.”

“This point, this game, mentally goes a long way,” Frei said. “… [It’s] a difficult environment and not a lot of teams find joy here. So, for us to go down a man and still fight and hang on and get a point, mentally that’s going to go a long way.”

Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said that while he isn’t complaining about the club’s performance on the road, the team needs to start collecting three points.

“I like the mentality of the group, but we need to collect three points, three points, three points,” Schmetzer said. “Our road form has been good, so now we’re going to work on getting points at home.”

Three Takeaways

  1. The “Goose” is back: Gustav Svensson returned to the team after his absence for the FIFA World Cup. Svensson participated with the Sweden National Team, who made a valiant run to the quarterfinals. Normally a defensive midfielder, Svensson entered the match in the 73rd minute, replacing Chad Marshall. His inclusion back to the squad gives Schmetzer more defensive options.
  2. Raúl Ruidíaz spends his “debut” on the bench: Seattle’s newest prized possession is forward Raúl Ruidíaz, who competed in the World Cup with Peru. He came back from the tournament earlier than Svensson, as Peru failed to reach the knockout stages. However, he was only recently cleared to play for Sunday’s tilt. However, Schmetzer elected to leave his newest forward on the bench. Will Bruin featured as a lone striker.
  3. Where was Clint Dempsey? Before the match started, Schmetzer turned heads with the absence of Clint Dempsey. However, all was cleared up; Dempsey ended up staying back in Seattle with groin tightness. There is no timetable for his return.

What’s Next?

Seattle will return home on Saturday, July 21, at CenturyLink Field.

The Sounders will host their rivals to the north: the Vancovuer Whitecaps. The Whitecaps currently sit in eighth place with 24 points. Seattle currently sits in 10th place with 17 points.

Kick off is slated for 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET.

Photo credit: Kara Durrette/Seattle Sounders FC