SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders played the LA Galaxy to a 1-1 draw in their Sunday afternoon home fixture at CenturyLink Field, getting a first-half tally from midfielder Cristian Roldan but conceding a 78th-minute equalizer to LA’s Sebastian Lletget.
Newly signed Designated Player Nico Lodeiro made his much-anticipated MLS debut for the Sounders and did not disappoint over 90 minutes, leading all players on the field in touches and generating a series of scoring chances the Sounders have sorely missed this season.
Sunday’s game was also the first for Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer, who will coach the squad for the rest of the season after the club mutually parted ways with longtime coach Sigi Schmid on Tuesday.
Forward Nelson Valdez almost tallied a highlight reel go-ahead goal for the Sounders in just the 8th minute off an attempted backheel with his back to the Galaxy goal. But LA goalkeeper Brian Rowe proved to be up to the task, blocking Valdez’s attempt before the ball was cleared away.
The Sounders had another good look in the 34th minute after Valdez found Jordan Morris with a cross, set up by a through ball from Lodeiro. Morris had his shot blocked but the rebound fell to Clint Dempsey, who took another shot that looked to be headed into the LA goal. But Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme stepped into clear Dempsey’s shot off the line at the last possible second, keeping the game scoreless.
Seattle broke through shortly after second half kickoff, however, after Valdez controlled a ball of Lodeiro’s head in the LA box and left the ball for a waiting Roldan. The second-year University of Washington product fired his attempt past Rowe and into the LA net, giving the Sounders the 1-0 advantage.
The Sounders almost made it 2-0 in the 71st after Lodeiro found a streaking Morris down the left side. The rookie forward made a nifty move to shed a charging Rowe and found himself with what looked to be a clean look on an open LA net. But Van Damme once again thwarted the opportunity at the last possible second, stepping in to block Morris’s shot and keep the game 1-0.
The Galaxy equalized in the 78h after a feed from Steven Gerrard landed in between Sounders ‘keeper Stefan Frei and center back Brad Evans, leaving Lletget with a tap-in from point blank range that knotted the contest at 1-1.
Lodeiro finished with four shots in the game and a game-high 124 touches, the fourth-most of any MLS player in any regular season match this season.
Alvaro Fernandez, also freshly acquired by Seattle this week, was available but did not figure into the action on Sunday.
The draw moved the Sounders to 6-12-3- on the season ahead of their next game, on the road at Orlando City FC on Sunday, Aug. 7.