Early goals, red card make it interesting for Sounders, who manage a draw vs. LAFC

A week ago, the Seattle Sounders traveled to Los Angeles and didn’t score a goal until the 51st minute vs. LAFC. A week later, against the same LAFC squad, they didn’t even have to wait a minute to get on the board.

Jordan Morris recorded the second fastest goal in team history, scoring 48 seconds in. And then, four minutes later, LAFC’s Carlos Vela scored his league leading 11th goal of the season to tie it.

And that was it as far as scoring goes. Still, the 1-1 tie on Sunday at CenturyLink Field had plenty of action.

In the 17th minute, after physical play from both teams raised tensions, Seattle’s Cristian Roldan got tangled up with Mark-Anthony Kaye and in the process accidentally made contact with Eduard Atuesta, who fell to the ground. Roldan was issued a red card, the first of his career, for what the officials labeled violent conduct.

Seattle (5-3-1, 9 points), who was already down six starters due to injuries, now were forced to play with 10. LAFC (7-2-1, 23 points), already in control offensivenly, only added to that, ending the first half with 73.3 percent possession. Yet, they could not score.

In the second half, it was more of the same. LAFC would primarily be in the Seattle end patiently passing the ball looking for scoring opportunities. They came close twice, once in the 48th minute when Christian Ramirez had a wide open net but his shot went over the cross bar. The second near score came in the 67th minute when Kaye’s shot went wide but would not have counted anyway because of an offside on LAFC’s Diego Rossi.

The 10-man Sounders’ side was able to frustrate LAFC’s attempts by clearing ball after ball. For the match, Seattle cleared the ball an astounding 25 times compared to LAFC’s six.

Seattle scoring opportunities were rare but when they came, they had the crowd of over 38,000 on their feet. In the 75th minute Nico Lodeiro had a blast just inside the box saved by LAFC’s Tyler Miller. The Sounders had three corner kicks in a matter of just a minute but could not capitalize.

In stoppage time, a wild scramble saw a Seattle counter attack almost end with a Brad Smith goal but Vela blocked it. On the counter, LAFC took the ball deep into Seattle territory and Kelvin Leerdam was called for a foul. LAFC was issued a free kick well after the four minutes of designated stoppage time yet did not convert.

Seattle’s next MLS match is at Minnesota United on May 4.

Here’s three things we learned after Sunday’s game vs. LAFC.

One point feels like three, almost

A week ago on Sunday, Seattle suffered its first loss, losing 4-1. to LAFC Things seem to go from bad to worse on Wednesday as Seattle needed two second half goals to beat a scrappy San Jose side.

Seattle came into Sunday’s rematch with LAFC banged up and needing points to keep pace in a Western Conference that is starting to have some separation with its leaders.

Then, the red card to Roldan. To play the team that beat you by three last week to a tie and gain a point impressed Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer, considering the circumstances.

“It’s pro sports, there’s no moral victories,” Schmetzer said. “But this is about as close as it gets. What I’m most proud of out of that group is that they came together. After the tough week, it was their third game in eight days — some of them are tired and heavy legged. They came together as a group and developed a really strong bond among themselves and I know it’s gonna help us down the road.

“When the chips are down and your team is under duress and the team responds like that, that makes me proud to be a Sounder.”

Still dealing with injuries

Seattle was without two forwards — Raul Ruidiaz (heel contusion) and Will Bruin (hamstring strain) — and four other players. Gustav Svensson (hamstring strain), Victor Rodriguez (concussion), Nouhou (ankle sprain), and Chad Marshall (knee inflammation) were not available.

Seattle only suited up six bench players, one of them being 15-year-old Danny Leyva, making it the first time he sat the bench for a regular season game since signing his contract.

After the game, coach Schmetzer didn’t have any updates but said he would know more by Wednesday.

Seattle survives a man down

Going up against a team that beat you 4-1 a week ago is tough, having to play a man down not even 20 minutes in is tougher but Seattle managed to get the job done. With LAFC possessing the ball for a large portion of the match, the Sounders opportunities to counter were few and far between.

The Sounders cleared the ball out of their zone 25 times compared to LAFC’s six and had to withstand 21 shot attempts from LAFC. If you’re a Sounders fan, you’ve got to be proud of the effort the team put together against one of the league’s best teams.