The Seattle Sounders defeated Minnesota United 2-1 at Allianz Field on Saturday courtesy of a long-range golazo from midfielder João Paulo in the first half and an own goal from the hosts after the break.
After a nervy opening few minutes, the Sounders largely controlled the tempo of the game throughout the first half, repeatedly passing and combining their way through the Loons. A flurry of chances around the half hour mark put pressure on Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, but the Sounders were unable to capitalize on the momentum.
The Rave Green finally translated their dominance into a lead on the scoresheet when João Paulo put an exclamation point on the end of a sweeping Sounders attack in the 38th minute. Jordan Morris burst down the left side and found the late run of Nicolás Lodeiro, who laid the ball back for the Brazilian midfielder to smash into the top corner from outside the box.
Seattle came flying out of the gates to start the second half, with Morris forcing an own goal the 49th minute. Morris, Cristian Roldan and Kelyn Rowe exchanged a few quick passes, leading to Morris getting in behind the Minnesota back line. The Mercer Island native picked out the run of Raúl Ruidíaz for a tap-in at the back post, but MNUFC defender Brent Kallman deflected it past his own goalkeeper to put Seattle 2-0 up.
The hosts piled on the pressure for the final 20 minutes of the match and managed to pull one back when Emanuel Reynoso dispatched a penalty kick in the 82nd minute. The Sounders held on to their one-goal advantage and saw out the result, picking up their first victory on the road of the 2022 MLS regular season.
João Paulo was everywhere on the pitch on Saturday night. The Brazilian put in a monster two-way performance in midfield, generating attacks with his passing and breaking up Minnesota’s possession with his dogged defending. Add in his wonderful goal and truly was a complete performance from João Paulo
Sweet Stefan Frei
The Sounders seemed to be cruising to an easy three points through first 75 minutes of the match. But after a couple of substitutions and a late goal from Minnesota, Frei was called up on to come up with several huge stops. His reflex save in the 86th minute ensured that the Sounders returned home with three points.
Shift to CCL
The Seattle Sounders face a relatively quick turnaround as they prepare to host New York City FC in Leg One of the Concacaf Champions League semifinals (7:00 p.m. PT | TICKETS) at Lumen Field on Wednesday. This marks just the second time in club history that the Sounders have reached the last four of the continental competition. NYCFC fell 2-1 to Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMIFINALS TICKETS ON SALE NOW
We take on reigning MLS Cup champions New York City FC on April 6 at Lumen Field in the Leg One of Concacaf Champions League semifinals. Get your tickets today!