The Seattle Sounders gutted out a 1-1 draw against Austin FC at Q2 Stadium on Sunday, riding a first-half strike from Will Bruin to a road point in the club’s final match before the upcoming FIFA international break.
After clinching a spot in the Concacaf Champions League semifinals with a 1-1 draw against Liga MX side Club León earlier this week, Bruin’s 43rd-minute strike stood as Seattle’s lone goal, while Diego Fagundez netted a second-half leveler for Austin that split the points.
Seattle entered the halftime locker room with a 1-0 lead, through a strike from Bruin as the match was approaching first-half stoppage time.
The sequence was spearheaded by João Paulo, who put Cristian Roldan into acres of space down the right side with a ball over the top. That set the US international midfielder up with a cross from inside the area, which Bruin crashed onto and deposited from close range, giving Roldan six assists in eight matches across all competitions to start his 2022 season.
The end-to-end action really picked up in the second half, with the hosts striking back in the 70th minute after applying a wave of pressure in search of an equalizer. Fagundez found the finish, sneaking home the finish off a free kick was that headed back across the box.
The sides swapped chances for a go-ahead goal, but none quite materialized. Seattle benefitted from a pair of spectacular saves from goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland, while midfielder Kelyn Rowe and substitute Fredy Montero each came inches from finding a winner for Seattle.
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Bruin scores his first
Starting the match as Seattle switched up its personnel on short rest, Bruin showed why he’s such a valuable member of the roster by doing what he’s been doing his entire MLS career. The veteran striker has been working his way back from a preseason injury, and made the most of his first start with the vital goal.
One of the stories over this last stretch for Seattle has been the play of rookie center back Jackson Ragen, who deputized again in Sunday’s starting XI with Yeimar sidelined with a sprained ankle. The 23-year-old University of Michigan product continues to demonstrate immense upside, putting in another strong performance against a talented Austin FC attack.
Rise of Obed continues
Obed Vargas’ early-season emergency has been much-discussed, but the 16-year-old seems to showcase new layers to his game with every passing week. In a hostile environment, Vargas was as cool as ever, craftily drawing several fouls and almost feeding Fredy Montero for a game-winner late in the second half.