Seattle Sounders pull back late goal in victory over Columbus Crew

Seattle Sounders FC

Columbus, Ohio (July 6, 2019) — It was a whirlwind — literally. Heavy winds blasted through MAPFRE Stadium as the Seattle Sounders FC set up shop against the home Columbus Crew SC. Both teams were desperate for points, and a victory. The Sounders haven’t won on the road since March. Meanwhile, the Crew haven’t won a match, home or away, since May 8.

The month of June wasn’t kind to the Seattle Sounders, with only one victory to close out a skid of three losses. Meanwhile, July didn’t start out in the kindest of manners, either, with a recent loss to New York City FC.

First Half: Columbus strikes first

Columbus took the lead early, after Danny Leyva was called for a foul inside the box on Pedro Santos. The Portuguese midfielder took the penalty himself, slotting the ball past Stefan Frei. However, after a few more opportunities to strike, Columbus couldn’t find the back of the net in the first half.

After the match, Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer said that he was proud Leyva bounced back from the foul.

“That was an unfortunate deal for Danny to have to work through,” Schmetzer said to media members. “I have to give the kid a lot of credit. That could’ve sunk a lot of young players. A lot of guys could’ve lost their confidence, but he didn’t. He actually played much better in the second half.”

Seattle had their chances, too.

Leyva had the Sounders’ best chance in the 32nd minute. After originally having his shot blocked, Leyva had another chance with the ball, but sent it over Joe Bendik’s crossbar. Nicolás Lodeiro also had a decent chance in the 15th minute, but also sailed his shot over the crossbar. Meanwhile, Frei was forced to make one save in the first half against J.J. Williams.

Second Half: It’s the Lodeiro show

However, early in the second half, the Sounders were able to tie the match. Nicolas Lodeiro earned a penalty kick in the 54th minute, after David Guzman brought him down. Guzman was already on a yellow card, but Christopher Penso did not show him a second card. Instead, Lodeiro set up his penalty and slotted it past Bendik.

However, that wasn’t the only time Lodeiro bested Bendik.

The game-winning score came in second half stoppage time. After a skirmish between players, there was a hefty amount of stoppage time added. In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Lodeiro was left completely unmarked when the ball fell to him. He got his head on the end of it, slipping it in goal.

Saad Abdul-Salaam made the play happen with his long throw-in. After the match, Lodeiro said he never imagined the ball would come for him.

Seattle leaves Columbus with three points and some admiration from their coach. Schmetzer said that he saw leadership from every player on the pitch tonight, including the substitutes.

“Nico got the two goals, but… there was a lot of leadership being provided by each and every one of the Sounders out there,” Schmetzer said to reporters after the match. “I’m talking about never giving up. There were guys, in their own way, leading by example or leading by getting guys organized in front of them. There was a lot of leadership on the field in many different definitions of the word.”

The three points brings the Sounders up to 32 points. However, they still remain in third place in the Western Conference. Seattle is now two points away from taking second place from the LA Galaxy.

Meanwhile, the Crew are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 17 points.

What’s Next? 

The Sounders have a three-match stretch at home in hopes to keep a consistent month of July with wins. Seattle will host Atlanta United FC on Sunday at 3:55 p.m. EST/12:55 p.m. PT. The next two home matches will be against Borussia Dortmund in a friendly on July 17. Meanwhile, the Sounders host the Portland Timbers for MLS action on July 21.

PHOTO: Nicolás Lodeiro scored two goals in his return to the Seattle Sounders, in a match against the Columbus Crew SC. Photo courtesy of Joseph Maiorana/Seattle Sounders FC.