DeAndre Yedlin 1021

It was a draw that felt like a win. Sounders FC mounted an improbable comeback thanks to three factors that prove the club’s home match on Saturday could be a magical moment.

1. Sounders FC funneled the Galaxy’s action to the outside

Brad Evans in his postgame comments outlined the strategy by saying, “I thought tonight we did a great job of bottling up the midfield and keeping the ball to the outside, trying to keep [Robbie] Keane and Landon [Donovan] off the ball as much as possible. That was tactically what we set out to do and I thought we did it well.”

It did work. Despite the trio of attackers having so much success in the regular season, they were held to just eight chances created or taken during the game. Seattle’s top three attackers had 18 of the same. If Seattle can limit Donovan, Keane and Zardes at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, the upper hand is clearly with Sounders FC.

2. DeAndre Yedlin can both defend and attack against the best

As an attacking fullback with dual tasks of limiting Donovan’s action and getting into the attack, Yedlin played a masterful game. While getting forward a bit less frequently than usual, he completed 14 of 16 passes in the attacking half, including the cross that led to the Sounders’ opening goal. 

His defensive actions came in the attacking half, which is notable for two reasons: If he makes a mistake there is generally time for his teammates to correct it, and his primary mark in that zone is not moving into Seattle’s defensive third.

3. Obafemi Martins is Seattle’s latest creator

It is about more than just the two assists. Martins drifted wide, dropped back and worked zones that were the responsibilities of most of the LA Galaxy defense. Martins operating with Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle early in the match had the three fluidly shifting through several defensive zones. When Marco Pappa came on, Neagle dropped back defensively more often while the attack was a bit more technical and even more fluid.

Despite all the movement, Martins caused havoc from central positions. He has shown throughout the season that he must be defended outside or inside and that he creates issues for defenders. They can’t take time off when he has the ball. He can penetrate by dribbling, play the incisive pass and take shots from distance. His passing is as much of a threat as his shooting. He is now Sounders FC’s top single-season run-of-play assist man and has one more game to equal Mauro Rosales’ most assists in club history.

Applying these lessons on Saturday will help the Sounders win the Supporters’ Shield. Both Sigi Schmid and Bruce Arena will make adjustments, but the foundation laid down in Sunday’s draw is strong.



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