The Seattle Sounders kicked off a busy Seattle sports Saturday with a 1-1 draw at home against LAFC. The game was fairly even in most regards, with the Sounders outscoring the league leaders in most ways outside of final scoring. The first half was as open as possible, with both sides controlling the game piecemeal. Both teams took 6 shots and possession was split 51.9% vs. 48.1% in favor of the Sounders, but Stefan Frei was the busier of the two goalkeepers as he had to make four strong saves, although not necessarily spectacular. The Sounders created plenty of dangerous moments, even off 6 shots, with Jordan Morris causing constant problems for the LAFC defense, but the team lacked the last shred of sharpness.
In the second half, it looked like Seattle might have found the spark they needed to open up the game and pull off three wins in three games to start the homestand. Just before the hour mark, the Sounders were putting pressure on LA as they passed the ball around the defense, when Albert Rusnák came up to intercept a pass from Maxime Crépeau, then drove towards the goal and hit his shot inside the near post to open the bookmark. Seattle kept pressing, but it was LA who had the next goal, capitalizing on a couple of Sounders errors to set up a wonderful header by Cristian Arango that knocked out Stefan Frei. There were still chances in the match, but in the end the two teams went home splitting the points. The Sounders have two games left in their home stay, hosting Sporting Kansas City next Saturday for another game at noon.
12′ – The Sounders’ first shot comes off a penalty corner set up for Alex Roldan’s cross to the head of Jordan Morris, but the timing isn’t quite right.
fifteen’ – Cristian Roldan plays a ball so that Morris runs towards him. Morris beats a man and returns the ball to Nico Lodeiro, but Lodeiro’s attempt goes out for a throw-in.
28′ — LAFC comes out on a quick counterattack, but Stefan Frei holds his ground and goes big to block the shot. He lays down for a while after the play, but he seems fine.
37′ — José Cifuentes shoots from the left inside and takes a shot, but Frei catches him in the chest.
39′ — Jordan Morris finds himself with the ball in a dangerous position again – this time at the penalty spot – and points to a team-mate, but Albert Rusnák’s shot goes high and wide.
40′ — Rusnák plays behind Morris this time, but Maxime Crépeau makes an excellent move to get ahead and cut the ball before Morris gets there.
48′ — Seattle comes off the halftime shot, with Rusnák watching from outside the box that Crépeau catches, then Cristian Roldan raising from the outside and narrowly missing.
58′ — Albert Rusnak! He applies the finishing touch to the press, stepping in to intercept a GK pass, driving towards goal and blasting his shot past a lunging Crépeau! 1-0 Mermaids
64′ — Twice LA looked sure to score, and twice Stefan Frei pulls off a crucial save! First with good positioning to close the angle, then a great diving reaction saved.
79′ — LAFC levels the game after Nouhou goes down and is unable to recover on the play before Cristian Arango hits 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 downfield before finding Jimmy Medranda with a square pass, whose shot is caught.
Spectacular Stefan Frei: The Sounders have only kept two clean sheets in MLS so far this season, which may hamper how good Stefan Frei has been. This game comes across as something of a microcosm for the season so far, with Frei making a number of really good saves but unable to hold onto the shutout and three points after the defense collapsed on a weak spot in front of him. His performances should be earning him league recognition, but he’ll need some help if he’s going to be in the conversation for Goalkeeper of the Year come fall.
Jordan, the Creator: After this one, it’s easy enough to point to Morris’ game today and complain that he lacks some kind of killer instinct and confidence in his finishing, but the reality is that he’s operating as a more creative player in this Sounders attack. As much as we’d all love to see him score more goals, he’s playing in a way that causes huge problems for opposing teams. As Brian Schmetzer pointed out in his press conference, Morris is excellent on the wing and in space, and as he moves towards goal and defenses try to stop him, he creates space for teammates he easily picks up in even better spots. . He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s ready to break out as a creator.
Obert Varsnak: The Sounders’ midfield duo of Obed Vargas and Albert Rusnák appear to be here to stay, at least while the team is without João Paulo. As such, it’s time to christen a nickname. I propose: Obert Varsnák. He rolls off the tongue and sums up how the two players are developing into an excellent midfield. Long live Obert Varsnák.
Stefan Frei is a mythical being.
“Well, it’s a bit quiet in the locker room. I think the guys are disappointed, we’re disappointed…” Schmetzer on the feeling after the game ended in a draw
— Defense and Boostice (@timostlundfoss) June 18, 2022
13.9% – 13.9% of Jordan Morris’ touches were chance-creating actions, with 5 chances on 36 touches.