SEATTLE — “I can’t wait to get these [expletives] back in Seattle so we can put 3 or 4 on them.”
Will Bruin was not happy. The Seattle Sounders and Santa Tecla had connecting locker rooms at Estadio Las Delicias in El Salvador for their first leg matchup in the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 last week. Santa Tecla had just pulled out a 2-1 victory and were blaring music and celebrating like they had already advanced to the quarterfinals.
“We just kind of took it in and said, ‘All right, they still have to come to Seattle, so we’ll see how that goes,’” said Bruin.
How it went was a 4-0 shellacking at CenturyLink Field on Thursday with all four tallies coming in the second half. Bruin started the scoring party in the 48th minute when he finished off a menacing pass from Nicolás Lodeiro, and from there the floodgates opened.
“We knew that once we got that first goal, we could get two, three or four and open up the game,” Bruin said. “It took the first half, but [Head Coach Brian] Schmetzer was saying that if we don’t score in the first half or early, just to keep possession, our chances were going to come, and they did.”
Schmetzer thought the game needed a goal to open up to get Santa Tecla out of their defensive bunker, as the visitors started the match nursing a 2-1 lead. The team was frustrated again at halftime, but Schmetzer reassured the Sounders that if they were patient, their opportunities would come.
“It was a big ask for Santa Tecla to come here and try and get another result,” said Schmetzer. “Our quality showed through tonight.”
Part of that quality was in new signing Magnus Wolff Eikrem, the 2016 Allsvenskan Midfielder of the Year in Sweden and a dangerous attacking playmaker who can slice through defenses at will. He had just received his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate and was eligible to play, so Schmetzer and the staff wanted to get him some minutes.
“When Mags came on, he’s so calm and composed on the ball that he picks out a great pass,” said Bruin. “When he’s on the ball, we know he’s going to make a killer pass going forward.
“I was joking in the locker room that he’s so calm and composed on the ball that it makes me calm and composed on the ball,” he continued. “He picks a great pass, he’s an attacker, he likes to go forward with the ball, he likes to look forward first and that’s something that as a striker I love.”
Added Schmetzer: “I said in preseason that we like [Wolff Eikrem] because he’s goal-dangerous. He’s a very good passer, his vision is good. I thought overall, he’s a very, very talented soccer player. As soon as he gets accustomed to the league and the players, I think he will become even better.”