It’s been a tale of two seasons through the early part of 2022 for the Seattle Sounders.
The Sounders have been in excellent form in Concacaf Champions League, posting multi-goal victories over Honduran side FC Motagua and Liga MX’s Club León, but have struggled to translate that success into MLS regular season play. That all changed on Saturday as the Rave Green carved out an impressive 3-2 win over an in-form LA Galaxy side.
Sounders FC's three-goal performance against the Galaxy not only showcased the mental fortitude of Seattle’s veteran squad, but also provided excellent preparation for Leg Two of the CCL Quarterfinals next week.
“It was certainly a big game because we wanted to continue to build on the early parts of this year,” Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said in his post-match press conference. “Look, had we drawn 2-2, would we have been hit with a gut punch that we can’t recover from? No. This team is too experienced for that.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy | March 12, 2022
Despite all the noise and narratives surround the team following a pair of 1-0 losses against Nashville SC and Real Salt Lake to open the MLS regular season, the players and staff never lost faith in the potential of this team.
“I believed that it was a matter of time,” said Fredy Montero, who has scored three goals in his last two starts. “I knew that we have a very, very good group of players here. The fact that we started two games losing those games, we needed to react. That game against Leon gave us that prize that we needed. The confidence is there and we start building from that game. We saw that attitude today.”
The experience and winning culture of the squad were perfectly highlighted in the manner of the Sounders’ win against the Galaxy.
After going down a goal in the 6th minute when Chicharito broke free inside the box, the Rave Green battled back and took a 2-1 lead into halftime through goals from Jordan Morris and Montero. The Galaxy delivered another gut punch at the start of the second half as Douglas Costa scored on a deflected free kick. Undeterred by these setbacks, the Sounders eventually secured the game-winning goal courtesy of Xavier Arreaga in the 72nd minute before battening down the hatches and holding all for all three points.
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“[It was] a good training session for what we’re going to face in León because the Galaxy at times were all over us,” noted Schmetzer. “So, we had to defend for our lives and gut out some nervy moments. We’ll use this film as kind of a learning lesson for our next opponent.”
As Schmetzer noted, the lessons gleaned from the win over LA will be extremely this upcoming week as the Sounders venture to Guanajuato, Mex., protecting a 3-0 lead ahead of Leg Two of their CCL matchup with León on Thursday (5:30 p.m. PT; iHeart Radio, El Rey 1360AM).
With the first win of the MLS campaign under their belts, the Sounders are fully focused on finishing the job at León and advancing to the next round of Champions League.
“Our mind is on the next game against León,” said Montero. “It’s a big opportunity for the whole organization. We are dreaming of being in the Semifinal.”