SOCCER

Sounders vs LAFC recap: A little good, a little bad

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The Seattle Sounders kicked off a busy sporting Saturday in Seattle with a 1-1 draw at home to LAFC. The game was fairly even in many ways, with the Sounders ahead of the league leaders in most aspects aside from the final score. The first half was about as open as it gets, with both teams controlling play for periods. Both teams took 6 shots and possession was split 51.9% to 48.1% in favor of the Sounders, but Stefan Frei was the busier of the two goaltenders, having to make four solid, if not necessarily spectacular saves . The Sounders created plenty of dangerous moments, even outside of 6 shots, with Jordan Morris causing constant problems for the LAFC defense, but the team lacked that last bit of sharpness.

In the second half, it looked like Seattle may have found the spark it needed to open the game and pick up three wins from three games to start the homestand. Just before the hour mark, the Sounders were pressing LA as they worked the ball around the defence, when Albert Rusnák got up to intercept a pass from Maxime Crépeau, then headed in on goal and inserted his shot into the near post to open the scoring. Seattle kept pushing, but it was LA who scored the next goal, capitalizing on a few errors from the Sounders to set up a superb Cristian Arango header that left Stefan Frei no chance. There were still chances in the match, but in the end both teams went home sharing the points. The Sounders have two more games to play at home, hosting Sporting Kansas City next Saturday for another game at noon.

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12′ — The Sounders’ first shot came from a short corner set up for an Alex Roldan cross headed by Jordan Morris, but the timing wasn’t quite right.

15′ — Cristian Roldan plays a ball that Morris can run on. Morris beats a man and returns the ball to Nico Lodeiro, but Lodeiro’s attempt is canceled for a throw-in.

28′ — LAFC comes out on a quick counter, but Stefan Frei holds his ground and goes big to block the shot. He remains on the ground after the game for a bit, but seems to be doing well.

37′ — José Cifuentes cuts inside from the left and gets a shot, but Frei catches it in his chest.

39′ — Jordan Morris again finds himself with the ball in a dangerous position – this time at the penalty spot – and chooses a team-mate, but Albert Rusnák’s shot is high and wide.

40′ — Rusnák plays Morris behind this time, but Maxime Crépeau makes a great play to step up and cut the ball off before Morris arrives.

48′ — Seattle comes out of the shot at halftime, with Rusnák peeking from outside the box which Crépeau grabs, then Cristian Roldan stopping from the outside and narrowly missing.

58′ — Albert Rusnak! He applies the final touch to the press, stepping in to catch a GK pass, drive on goal and place his shot past a Crépeau dive! 1-0 sounders

64′ — Twice LA looked certain to score, and twice Stefan Frei made a crucial save! First with good positioning to close the angle, then a nice dive reaction backup.

79′ — LAFC leveled the game after Nouhou fell and failed to recover on the play before Cristian Arango hit a looping header on Frei. 1-1

90’+6 — With some of the final touches of the game, Rusnák and Will Bruin work the ball upfield before finding Jimmy Medranda with a square pass, the shot from which is caught.

Spectacular Stefan Frei: The Sounders have only kept two clean sheets in MLS so far this season, which could hamper Stefan Frei’s quality. This game so far feels like a microcosm for the season, with Frei making a number of very good saves but unable to keep the shutout and three points after the defense crumbled to a weak spot in front of him. His performances should earn him league recognition, but he will need help if he is to be in the conversation for Goaltender of the Year in the fall.

Jordan, the Creator: It’s easy enough after this one to point fingers at Morris’ game today and complain that he lacks some sort of killer instinct and confidence in his finishing, but the reality is that he works more like a creative player in this Sounders offense. Even though we would all like to see him score more goals, he plays in a way that causes huge problems for opposing teams. As Brian Schmetzer noted in his press conference, Morris is excellent on the wing and in space, and as he drives towards goal and defenses try to stop him, it creates space for his teammates whom he easily chooses in even better places. He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s ready to flourish as a creator.

Obert Varsnak: The Sounders midfield duo of Obed Vargas and Albert Rusnák appear to be here to stay, at least for as long as the team is without João Paulo. As such, it’s time to baptize a nickname. I advanced: Obert Varsnák. It sticks out of the language and sums up how the two players become an excellent midfielder. Long live Obert Varsnak.

Stefan Frei is a mythical being.

13.9% – 13.9% of Jordan Morris’ touches were chance-creating moves, with 5 chances out of 36 touches.


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