SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders overcame a pair of red cards, eventually salvaging a 1-1 draw with LAFC at CenturyLink Field in a Western Conference clash on Sunday.
Seattle played with 10 men for 72 minutes of the contest following Cristian Roldan’s red card in the 18th minute and part of second-half stoppage time after defender Kelvin Leerdam was also sent off. Seattle warded off a barrage of second-half pressure from the visitors with a mammoth defensive effort to escape with the point.
Seattle moves to 5-1-3, with 18 points through nine matches.
Jordan Morris opened the scoring just 45 seconds after kickoff for Seattle, picking off a wayward back pass, charging in on goal and slotting home a finish to the far post past ex-teammate Tyler Miller. The goal was the second-fastest in club history.
The visitors struck back just three minutes later, though, after Carlos Vela cashed home a point-blank tally off a vicious counterattack, leveling the affair at a goal apiece before five minutes had elapsed.
The Sounders were dealt a huge blow in the 18th minute when referee Ted Unkel issued Roldan a straight red for making contact with the face of an opponent following a dust-up between the sides near midfield. A massive defensive effort in the second half kept the contest at 1-1, with the Sounders earning a point despite finishing with nine men after Leerdam was sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity in stoppage time.
DEFENSIVE MASTER CLASS
Following Roldan’s red, the deck was stacked against Seattle, and heavily, with 70-plus minutes to go against an LAFC attack that has been running wild all over MLS. In the second half especially, the Sounders stood on their heads, blasting away clearance after clearance as the visitors searched in vain for the go-ahead tally. Seattle might not have to work harder for a single point all season.
The fact that the Sounders were also missing strikers Raul Ruidíaz (heel contusion) and Will Bruin (hamstring strain), midfielder Víctor Rodríguez (concussion), star center back Chad Marshall (knee inflammation), defensive midfielder Gustav Svensson (hamstring strain) and left back Nouhou (ankle sprain) makes that second-half stand all the more remarkable. Without those faces plus Roldan, it was up to the depth players to step up, with Jordy Delem playing all 90 minutes, and Alex Roldan, Saad Abdul-Salaam and Henry Wingo all taking shifts.
The Sounders will probably take the point given the circumstances, but already bruised and battered, the pair of red cards make for a tough task in Seattle’s next game. Roldan and Leerdam will be suspended for the contest, and the statuses of Ruidíaz, Bruin, Svensson, Marshall, Rodríguez and Nouhou are uncertain as the club heads to Allianz Field for next weekend’s road matchup with Minnesota United. Midfielder Danny Leyva, who made his first matchday roster appearance on Sunday, will also be unavailable, as he will join the United States U-17s for FIFA World Cup Qualifying.