The Seattle Sounders head home on Saturday after a wild, back-and-forth 3-3 draw in North Carolina against Charlotte FC. Any road point in Major League Soccer is a good one, especially one on a cross-country trip, but the Sounders will feel a little hard done by the result after holding a one-goal lead on three separate occasions.
There were positives to look back on, though, namely that Raúl Ruidíaz and Cristian Roldan each returned to the starting lineup and livened an attack that had only scored six total goals in the previous 10 matches. Seattle scored three goals for the first time since April 8, and it was the ruthlessness in the final third from both of those returnees that sparked the attacking threat.
“We were out for a really long time,” Roldan said of he and Ruidíaz. “It was really rewarding on our first starts back with the team. Obviously, we would have loved to have had the three points, but the goals that we scored were of quality. Maybe that was something that we were lacking a bit these last couple games. We have to take that into account. We have to use that for momentum going into our next game.”
Seattle will have an 11-day break ahead of their next league match, with next weekend off before a midweek visit to the reigning MLS Cup Champions LAFC on Wednesday, June 21 (7:30 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass on Apple TV). The extended layoff will likely aid in getting another offensive threat back in captain Nicolás Lodeiro, who missed Saturday’s match with a right adductor strain.
Albert Rusnák slotted into Lodeiro’s usual position at the No. 10, and the Slovakian international was instrumental in creating chances all evening, including chasing down a ball on the end line that set up Ruidíaz’s first goal.
“The performance was good in that we scored three goals away from home,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “The attacking side was working. All three of our goals were well-taken goals…Raúl was a big part of that.”
It’s very likely that Saturday’s defensive lapse was more of a blip than anything else. The Sounders lead MLS in clean sheets with nine and entered with the third-fewest goals allowed despite playing the most matches. Assuming Seattle can revert to its defensive form it showcased through the first half of the season, the return of Ruidíaz and Roldan should be the sign of more nights like Saturday’s in the goalscoring column.
“The draw stings because we were ahead, we let them come back on multiple occasions,” said Schmetzer. “But the one silver lining in a very dark cloud is the offense was clicking.
“The team being in an attacking mindset and scoring three goals on the road was a real step forward.”