The Seattle Sounders FC aren’t afraid of a little adversity.
The Concacaf Champions League winners have a large target on their back this season. However, they’ve always had that pressure, being the only MLS side to make the MLS Cup playoffs for 10 years in a row and having the success that they do. That adversity has been put to the test in the last few weeks.
Seattle, coming into their match against the Colorado Rapids, were riding a three-game losing streak. Colorado was a big test for the Sounders, who were playing at home, at Lumen Field. Colorado, just like Seattle, enjoyed success last season but have been struggling to earn consistent wins in MLS play this season.
Early in the match, Colorado got on the board first, courtesy of Jonathan Lewis in the 3rd minute. Lewis took on goalkeeper Stefan Frei one-on-one and was slipped the ball by Diego Rubio. Lewis snuck right between the defensive pairing of Yeimar Gómez Andrade and Alex Roldan for the perfectly placed ball from Rubio.
However, Jordan Morris, a Seattle stalwart, found the equalizer right before halftime as Albert Rusnák slid the ball to Morris after a fast start to a free kick. Colorado defender Lalas Abubaker and teammates flanked the referee, arguing about the quick start.
Both teams went into the locker room with the score tied, but chaos reigned for the Sounders at the start of the second half. Defender Kelyn Rowe slid to keep the ball inbounds, but failed to keep the ball alive. However, Rowe was given a second yellow card for attempting to pick up the ball and having it slide out of his hands.
Yellow Card Controversy for Sounders’ Kelyn Rowe
Last Word on Soccer reporter and pool reporter Matt Pollard tweeted out what head referee Rosendo Mendoza had to say about the red card.
The response to my pool reporter question regarding Kelyn Rowe's second yellow card for time wasting:
— Matt Pollard (@LWOSMattPollard) July 24, 2022
Seattle ended up having the last laugh. In the 69th minute, Jordan Morris won a penalty after a foul by goalkeeper William Yarbrough, who came off his line to collect the ball, but instead swept Morris’ legs and sent him flying in the box. Nicolas Lodeiro lined up the penalty and converted it past Yarbrough.
After the match, Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said that the victory is a major confidence boost for the Sounders, who have been struggling in recent weeks.
“The impact of this win and how we won, coming off a three-game slide, should reaffirm to all the naysayers and anyone who thinks we’re happy with CCL and we’re ready to pack it in for the rest of the year, you should take a look at the performance of that group of players, the determination that they showed, to go a man down and manufacture a couple of scoring chances,” Schmetzer said. “I know Albert was taking some heat from people about not scoring. The pass he plays into Jordan, not a lot of guys see that. Kudos to him, kudos to Jordan for following up on the play. Nico is he’s 17/17 for penalty kicks on the regular season. You look at those players and their determination to grind out a victory and you’ve got to give it to them.”
“They put everything in that game and it was a well-deserved three points.”
"You were part of a really ——- massive win"
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) July 24, 2022
Schmetzer said that, ahead of the match, the team talked about pressure and high-stakes matches. Colorado, at home, was a match that the Sounders expected three points.
“What we discussed before the game was the pressure, the pressure of coming off three games where we didn’t play to our potential and do we play tight or when we get frustrated, how do we overcome those moments,” Schmetzer said. “I told those guys, they’ve been in so-many pressure filled games already this year… They weren’t afraid. The game wasn’t too big for them.
What’s next for the Sounders?
Seattle has a tough match on the road against first-place Western Conference side LAFC on Friday night at 11 p.m. EST.
Photo: Mike Fiechtner / Seattle Sounders FC.