Carlos Vela struck for a brace, Eduard Atuesta and Christian Ramirez added a goal apiece and the Seattle Sounders dropped their first match of the season by a 4-1 scoreline against Western Conference foe LAFC at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.
Harry Shipp netted the lone goal for Seattle, who were playing without injured stars Raúl Ruidíaz (heel contusion) and Chad Marshall (knee inflammation). The defeat knocks the Sounders to 5-1-1 ahead of their next match, which will see them take on the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday.
The hosts got the early opener in the 12th minute courtesy of a class finish from Vela, who got in between two Seattle defenders and rifled his shot past Stefan Frei and into the net to stake LAFC to the 1-0 first-half lead.
Atuesta then doubled the advantage in the 39th minute after picking off a pass in Seattle’s half and finishing off a charging run with another well-placed finish, pushing the scoreline to 2-0 as the contest hit halftime.
The Sounders would strike back, however, as Shipp beat former Sounder Tyler Miller with a tidy finish of his own off a feed from Víctor Rodríguez pull the Sounders within one.
Vela struck back in short order, though, receiving a feed behind Seattle’s backline in the 55th minute, rounding Frei and cashing home his second of the day. Ramirez then added the insurance in the 61st to round out the 4-1 final.
The MVP frontrunner, Vela is currently the most in-form player in MLS. His first goal was a world-class finish and his second wasn’t easy either, even if he made it look like it. The 30-year-old Mexican international is laying waste to every opponent he comes across at the moment, the Sounders just happened to be his latest victim.
AIR MARSHALL ABSENCE LOOMS LARGE
Without their three-time MLS Defender of the Year anchor in the middle, the Sounders looked disjointed defensively throughout the contest, unable to contain a blistering and dynamic LAFC attack that is scoring goals at a record rate and even harder to stop on its home turf. The task would have been difficult with Marshall in the lineup. Without him, it proved that much more daunting.
CHANCE FOR REVENGE
The Sounders will get their chance to settle the score in short order. Following a midweek home clash against the Earthquakes, LAFC now will head to Seattle to finish off the home-and-home at CenturyLink Field next Sunday. Even with this lopsided result, it will still be a matchup between two of the top teams in the Western Conference standings. For Seattle, the hope will be they get to play the rematch at full health.