The Seattle Sounders fell 2-0 in their road matchup with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, courtesy of a brace from NYRB forward Mike Grella.
With the loss, Seattle fell to 5-8-1 on the season in their first game back into MLS action following a two-week break from league play for the ongoing Copa America Centenario.
Star forward Clint Dempsey was absent from the contest, on duty with the U.S. national team for the Copa.
Seattle had a good look at the game’s opening goal early after Joevin Jones – making the start on the wing after playing primarily as a left back this season – broke free up the left flank and sent a cross in the direction of midfielder Erik Friberg. But Friberg had his attempt blocked, allowing NYRB to keep the game scoreless.
Forward Jordan Morris also had two good chances of his own during the first half off a breakaway look and a header in the NYRB penalty box, but the Stanford rookie put both wide of the goal by a matter of inches.
Overall the Sounders had 56.9 percent possession in the first half and outshot NYRB 10-5, but couldn’t quite put any of their chances into the net.
NYRB would find the opener in the 18th minute after midfielder Sacha Kljestan unleashed a rocket shot from distance that curled by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei and deflected off the crossbar. But the rebound bounced to Grella, who smashed his fifth goal of the season into the net to give the hosts the 1-0 advantage they would take into halftime.
Grella would extend the lead to 2-0 in the 59th minute with a nifty chip over the head of Frei, collecting his second tally of the evening to give NYRB the lead that would ultimately hold as the final scoreline.
The Sounders will look to right the ship back home, in the franchise’s first-ever meeting with New York City FC at CenturyLink Field.