The Seattle Sounders have had a thorn in their side this MLS season. Real Salt Lake re-took their place in the Sounders’ side on Tuesday night, closing out the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, by frustrating Seattle. The match ended in a —.
The first half was not busy. Seattle formally held most of the possession, looking to get past Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa, the Mexican international. However, the second half was a lot more spicy between the two sides, with the match getting much more physical.
Throughout the entire 90 minutes of regular-time, Real Salt Lake did not take a shot on goal — or a shot in general. That continued in extra time as well, with Real Salt Lake continuing not to threaten Seattle’s goal. Stefan Frei had a relatively easy and simple night in goal.
Jordan Morris made his debut into the starting lineup Tuesday night, while Raul Ruidiaz and Nico Lodeiro — both recovering from injuries — began the match on the bench. Ruidiaz came in at halftime, looking to create a spark. In fact, Ruidiaz had the best chance of the match, hitting the post with a large bang in the second half.
SOOO CLOSE. @RaulRuidiazM hits the crossbar!! 😳😳😳#SEAvRSL | #MLSCupPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/IyxLPw9C7e
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) November 24, 2021
Sounders take on extra time, lose in PKs
At the end of regulation, the score remained at zero, sending fans to extra time madness. For East Coast fans, extra time kicked off at 12:33 AM on Wednesday morning. Seattle pounded Real Salt Lake but could not sneak anything past Ochoa. The most noteworthy moment in extra time was Cristian Roldan colliding with Marcelo Silva, with Silva cleating Roldan right on the knee.
When it came down to penalties, Seattle started off strong. Frei had what would have been a save on a poorly taken penalty from Pablo Ruiz. However, Frei jumped off his line too early and was issued a warning from referee Joe Dickerson. On the second attempt, Ruiz converted.
Both teams made all five of their penalty kicks, and sudden death awaited. Kelyn Rowe stepped up for the sixth Seattle kick and had his shot saved by Ochoa. It all came down to Justen Glad and he converted, although Frei got a hand on it, and watched the ball slowly roll into net.
After the match, Brian Schmetzer said that the bar is set so high for Seattle that losing in the first round of the playoffs is a “failure.” Cristian Roldan added on to that, saying, “You start off hot, you continue hot, you’re on top of the West and then you see a decline the last 6 or 7 games, which was like our PKs. Today was a summary of our season.”
Meanwhile, Stefan Frei said that the team has to “respond” next season.
“We strive for perfection, but we weren’t able to achieve it,” Frei said. “We had a lot of shots, a lot of crosses, but we have nothing to show for it… You don’t want to forget this loss … We need to grow from it and get better from it.”
Photo: Lindsey Wasson/Seattle Sounders FC.