SEATTLE, WASH. - Seattle Sounders FC (7-9-5, 26 points) cruised to a 3-1 victory over New York City FC (13-5-4, 43 points) in front of 39,528 fans at CenturyLink Field and a national television audience on ESPN. The victory marks Seattle's sixth consecutive match with either a win or a draw dating back to July 4, with the Rave Green winning three consecutive matches over the past week. The club's recent success has Seattle surging up the table, with Brian Schmetzer's side now just five points outside the sixth and final Western Conference postseason position. Sounders FC is 2-2-0 all-time against NYCFC, including a 1-1-0 record at CenturyLink Field.
Cristian Roldan pounced on a loose ball inside New York's area in the 36th minute of action following a shot that was fired by Kelvin Leerdam and blocked by a NYCFC defender. The United States Men's National Team midfielder took advantage of the loose ball, firing a shot that New York goalkeeper Sean Johnson was not able to save, despite getting a hand to the ball. For Roldan, the strike was his second goal of 2018.
Roldan's midfield teammate Gustav Svensson doubled the home side's advantage just after halftime, with the Swede bagging his second goal of the year in the 51st minute. Having recently returned to the Rave Green following FIFA World Cup duty with the Swedish National Team, Svensson has played in every match for Seattle since returning from Russia.
New York pulled a goal back in the 68th minute, pressuring Seattle's backline into a turnover, with Jo Inge Berget playing a deft cross from the right flank that found Jesús Medina crashing Stefan Frei's six-yard-box. Medina converted his attempt past Seattle's goalkeeper, moving the score to 2-1 with a third of the match remaining.
However, the Rave Green secured their win with a blistering goal from Harry Shipp just before the final whistle. Substitute Will Bruin laid the ball off for the Chicago native, with Shipp beating Johnson at his near post with a belted right-footed attempt. For Shipp, the goal was his first of 2018 and his third overall since joining Seattle prior to the 2017 season.
Just five points back of the sixth and final Western Conference postseason position, Seattle looks ahead to a pivotal clash at Minnesota United on Saturday, August 4 (6:00 p.m. PT / JOEtv, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM). The Loons currently sit two points ahead of Seattle in the race for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, with Adrian Heath's side occupying eighth place in the West. A Sounders FC victory would vault the Rave Green past their upcoming opponent.
- Sounders FC is now 7-9-5 on the season, and currently sits 10th in the Western Conference with 26 points, five points shy of the sixth and final postseason position.
- The result extends Seattle's unbeaten streak to six games (4-0-2), dating back to July 4 at Colorado. The run is the longest spell without a loss this season, and just one shy of matching the club's fourth-longest unbeaten streak in club history (5-0-2 from August 25-September 29, 2013 and July 11-August 28, 2010). The longest unbeaten streak in club history is 13 games (6-0-7) from June 21-September 23 of last season. Dating back to the club's loss to Sacramento Republic FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on June 6, Sounders FC has a record of 5-2-3 in MLS action.
- Midfielder Cristian Roldan scored his second goal of the season in the first half, his 12th career tally. Roldan also has five assists on the season, second to Nicolás Lodeiro for the team lead.
- Roldan's strike snapped a 434-minute shutout streak for NYCFC dating back to July 8, the second-longest run without allowing a goal in MLS this season.
- Gustav Svensson recorded his second goal of the season with a long-distance strike in the second half. Saturday marked the Swedish international's fourth match for Seattle since returning from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
- Nicolás Lodeiro assisted on Svensson's strike, giving the Uruguayan a team-leading six on the season and 26 in his Sounders FC career (MLS regular season only), one shy of Brad Evans for fourth in club history.
- Midfielder Harry Shipp scored his second goal of the season to give Seattle a 3-1 lead in the 86th minute. He was also credited with a second assist on Svensson's goal, his second of the season and 20th in his six-year MLS career.
- Forward Raúl Ruidíaz made his first start in front of the home crowd on Sunday afternoon after signing as a Designated Player on June 29, having come on as a substitute in last Saturday's 2-0 win over Vancouver. The Peruvian scored his first Sounders FC and MLS goal in his first start during Wednesday's 1-0 road win over San Jose.
- Seattle's 24 goals allowed this season are the second-fewest in MLS this season, trailing only the New York Red Bulls (22).
- Sounders FC is now 4-4-2 at home this season, earning 14 of its 26 points at CenturyLink Field.
- Sounders FC is now 2-2-0 all-time against NYCFC, including a 1-1-0 record at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle Sounders FC 3 - New York City FC 1
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Assistants: Peter Manikowski, Apolinar Mariscal
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez
Weather: 82 degrees and sunny
SEA - Cristian Roldan 36'
SEA - Gustav Svensson (Nicolas Lodeiro, Harry Shipp) 51'
NYC - Jesus Medina (Joe Inge Berget, Jonathan Lewis) 68'
SEA - Harry Shipp (Will Bruin) 86'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam (Alex Roldan 83'), Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Nouhou; Gustav Svensson, Osvaldo Alonso - captain (Will Bruin 76'), Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro, Harry Shipp; Raúl Ruidíaz (Román Torres 86')
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Clint Dempsey, Jordy Delem, Waylon Francis
Total shots: 14 (Lodeiro, 3)
Shots on goal: 5 (Five players, 1)
Fouls: 9 (Lodeiro, 3)
Offside: 3 (Ruidíaz, 3)
Corner-kicks: 4 (Lodeiro, 4)
Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)
New York City FC - Sean Johnson, Ben Sweat, Anton Tinnerholm (Jonathan Lewis 60'), Alexander Callens, Sebastien Ibeagha, Maximiliano Moralez - captain, Ebenezer Ofori (Ismael Tajouri-Shradi 64'), Kwame Awuah (Rodney Wallace 82'); Jo Inge Berget, Jesus Media, Ronald Matarrita
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Maxime Chanot, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Thomas McNamara
Total shots: 19 (Medina, 5)
Shots on goal: 3 (Medina, 2)
Fouls: 10 (Awuah/Ofori, 2)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Matarrita/Moralez, 2)
Saves: 2 (Johnson, 2)