The Seattle Sounders fell 4-1 to LAFC on Monday night, ending the Rave Green’s run at the MLS is Back Tournament in the Round of 16.
With LAFC controlling most of the match and establishing a 2-0 lead, Seattle pulled themselves back with a goal late in the second half, only for LAFC to add two more with ten minutes remaining,
The Black & Gold came flying out of the gates in this knockout round matchup, with their high press and quick possession putting Seattle on the back foot. That tempo paid off in the 13th as the 2019 Supporters’ Shield winners earned a penalty kick, which Diego Rossi subsequently dispatched. LA added a second in the 39th minute as Latif Blessing’s curled effort was deflected past Frei and into the net.
Seattle appeared to have clawed their way back into the game in the 75th minute as a pair of substitutes linked up for a goal. Joevin Jones curled an inch-perfect cross to the back post for Will Bruin, who marked his first match in over a year with a picturesque volley into the top corner.
The Sounders nearly leveled the score in the next few minutes, with good looks from inside the box from Raúl Ruidíaz and Bruin. Unfortunately, LAFC added two more late strikes from Rossi and Brian Rodríguez, effectively icing the match.
Here’s three takeaways.
Seattle’s Round of 16 matchup against LA was immediately billed as one of the most enthralling fixtures of the knockout rounds. With the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners taking on the defending MLS Cup champs, supporters and neutrals alike circled this 2019 Western Conference Final rematch on their calendars.
With so much quality on the field, the margins were extremely thin. And on Monday night, the individual mistakes from the Sounders’ defense were ruthlessly punished as LAFC bagged four goals.
WELCOME BACK, WILL
If there’s any silver lining to this disappointing result, it was the return to action from Bruin, who missed more than a year of action through injury. Bruin worked tirelessly in that time to rehab and come back stronger than before. It was fitting that the veteran striker marked his return with a lovely finish, adding in solid holdup play and dangerous runs to give Seattle a chance at getting back into the match.
The Sounders are a proud, competitive team. Losing 4-1 in a heavyweight bout against a conference rival definitely stings.
With the MLS is Back Tournament continuing, the Rave Green will return to Seattle and recuperate. As the league plots out a resumption of the regular season, Seattle will have time for injured players to return to health and prepare for whatever comes next.