Sounders vs. FC Dallas: The Seattle Sounders bounced back from Saturday’s loss to LAFC, hosting FC Dallas on Tuesday evening in beautiful Seattle.
The 1–0 win was the team’s first shutout since a road win against Toronto FC, and the first clean sheet at home since a win against Sporting Kansas City on June 23. The Sounders began to pose challenges to the Dallas defense early on, with Nico Lodero seeing a save by Dallas goalkeeper Martin Pace in the fourth minute. Seattle held most of the possession, playing the ball around and creating a handful of quality chances until the 37th minute when Jordan Morris got behind the defense and rose to take the ball out of the air with his chest inside the box.
But coming for the ball, Paes dismissed him. Nico Lodero stepped up to take the penalty and did exactly what you’d expect, hitting the ball to his left and sending the keeper the wrong way to give Seattle the lead with just 5 minutes left in the half.
It turned out to be all they needed. Dallas did their best to apply pressure in the second half and got plenty of shots, but neither side really posed much of a threat after the opening goal. Arguably the best chance of the second half came in the 86th minute when Nico Lodero hit a through ball for Jordan Morris that the winger couldn’t get onto. Fortunately, Noho was making a run from the blind side of the defender and picked up the ball to the keeper. Unaware of his running mate, Raul Roydias, who was available to tap in, Noho went for the shot and a diving GK kept it off the scoresheet. The win moves the Sounders into 6th and a playoff position. They will return to action on Saturday afternoon, August 6 when they travel to face Atlanta United.
4′ — Sounders have their first good chance of the match, Jordan Morris shows some good control to take the ball down and play in Nico Lodero, but his shot goes wide.
7′ — Liu Chu shows some speed and a great touch or two to keep the ball in play and create a dangerous chance down the right, but Dallas clears him for a throw-in.
37′ — Morris rises to take control with a cross, but is cleared by Dallas goalkeeper Martin Pace. Punishment for whistleblowers.
39′ — Nico Lodero moves to the spot and hammers it to his left, sending GK the other way! Sounders goal! 1-0
44′ — Freddy Montero is brought down near the top of the box, and Lodeiro steps up to take the free kick. His shot is hit hard and well placed, but GK gets well over to save it.
54′ — Morris almost doubles the lead as he runs onto a loose ball and breaks the ball from the D, but his shot goes just wide of the post.
86′ — Noho comes as close as he’ll ever get to opening his Sounders account when he runs onto Lodeiro’s through ball, but his shot is blocked as G falls on him.
Raul Ruidíaz’s return: He had just 5 touches, and none of them shots, but Raul Ruidíaz returned to the field for the first time since coming off a hamstring injury against the Portland Timbers on July 9. 30 minutes, made some good runs, and didn’t pull off with another muscle injury. I’m counting that as a win! If the Sounders are going to get hot and make some noise in the playoffs, they’re going to need Roydias, so it’s important to get him back on the field healthy and in rhythm.
A small backbone in midfield: Cristian Roldan and Albert Rusnak aren’t going to magically become tough as nails, but against Dallas, they showed they can be something in the middle when the game suits them. Can provide stiffness. The two combined for just 3 tackles – giving them a 100% success rate – but went 4-for-6 and 4-for-4 respectively, and combined for 3 interceptions and 15 recoveries. Because they helped keep the team boss in possession and control of the middle of the park.
Perfection: Perfection is hard to overestimate. In any situation, doing something perfectly is something worth doing, no matter how small. When perfection becomes the norm, however, it’s easy to overlook. Taking it for granted. Nico Lodero is firmly in the area. He, somehow, never missed a penalty in a regular season game. His PK was his 18th such penalty tonight. The peace and confidence gained knowing that, if Lodero is in the game and the boys win a penalty, it’s going into the back of the net is priceless. This process can go on for a long time.