SEATTLE, WA- After a rough stretch of home results, the Sounders were able to turn things around as they took down Minnesota United 1-0 on Saturday. The win also avenged Seattles loss to the Loons earlier in the year in St. Paul.
In the 22nd minute, the Sounders did something they hadn’t done at home since June 26th. They scored an opening half goal. It came from a perfect set up by Nicolás Lodeiro who played a ball to newcomer Nicolas Benezet. The midfielder then picked out João Paulo at the top of the box who rifled the ball into the net for the opening goal.
The team has talked about the need to get off to a hot start before. Coach Schmetzer has also said that they tend to wear squads down and get their goals in the second half but also reiterated the importance of going up early. The goal ended a 297-minute home opening half scoring drought.
Another look ?@NicolasBenezet finds João Paulo for the opening goal! #SoundersMatchday | #SEAvMIN pic.twitter.com/taBsxDoKzv
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) September 11, 2021
Pressure on in the Second
Having the early lead is always a positive, but finishing the job in the second half is equally important. Minnesota did not look worn down in the slightest as they put the pressure on the home side and did not allow the Rave Green to add anymore goals to their tally. After losing the possession battle in the first half, the Loons bounced back to win it in the second half with 55%. Luckily for Seattle, Minnesota wasn’t clinical in the attacking third and never truly threatened at an equalizer.
Return of Frei
A bright spot about the second half was that Stefan Frei gets credited with a clean sheet after returning to the lineup for the first time since suffering an injury back on May 5th. The veteran keeper is the heart and soul of this squad and having him back out there was a clear boost to the club. If the Sounders plan on making another run at MLS Cup, then they will need his leadership out of the back.
(Would also be a good time to mention the return of Nouhou, who also left his mark on the match)
- 22′ (SEA) João Paulo – Assisted: Nicolás Lodeiro(1), Nicolas Benezet(2)
The Sounders will be in action next Tuesday when they host Santos Laguna in the semifinals of the Leagues Cup. Seattle advanced to Tuesdays match by taking down Tigres UANL back on August 10th. The match is scheduled for a 7 PM kickoff from Lumen Field. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN2 along with the usual radio homes.
Russell is the Content Director for the Eli Network. He studied broadcast journalism at Eastern Oregon and North Dakota State University. Mostly covers soccer and basketball in the Seattle area and is the current play-by-play voice for Seattle Redhawks basketball. You can follow him @brussbrwn.