Aug 12, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Cristian Roldan (7) steals the ball away from FC Dallas defender Marquinhos Pedroso (6) during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Sounders won their fifth consecutive game and eighth without a loss against FC Dallas on Sunday. The 2-1 victory over the Western Conference leaders pulled Seattle within three points of the red line.
Here are three key takeaways from the match:
Smith makes his MLS debut
New left back Brad Smith, signed to a year-long loan from English Premier League side Bournemouth DAY, made his first start as a Sounder Sunday. The 24-year-old left back made an immediate impact with his speed, helping stretch out Dallas and serving in a series of pinpoint crosses, though the connections did not materialize.
Smith finished with 54 touches and an 88.2 percent passing completion rate.
“(He) was pretty good,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said after the match. “You guys saw what (general manager Garth Lagerwey) and (sporting director Chris Henderson) saw in him. He’s got good speed and crossing ability. He’s an attack-minded player. I thought, overall, he was enthusiastic to play. He hadn’t played a lot of games in the last couple years and you could tell he was happy to be on the pitch. We were overall very pleased. We’ll watch the film and try to get him acclimated a little bit more with the players he’s playing with. We’ll get him up to speed, he was very good.”
Nouhou left off Sounders team sheet
Left back Nouhou was not on the Sounders’ roster for Sunday’s match. The left back had practiced in full all week, but did not make Schmetzer’s bench, losing out to Costa Rican international Waylon Francis, who had replaced Nouhou at halftime in Seattle’s 2-1 win over Minnesota United for what Schmetzer called a “tactical decision.”
Schmetzer said that Nouhou’s exclusion Sunday was a coach’s decision and nothing more.
“He’s a great kid,” Schmetzer said. “He’s got a really bright future and that was a coach’s decision tonight.
“And he’s not for sale, either. I’ll add that to it.”
Tempers flare at final whistle
After Reto Ziegler’s red card for violent conduct and a series of fouls by FC Dallas to end the match, a fracas developed at midfield after referee Ted Unkel blew the final whistle, involving players, technical staffs and coaches. The two sides appeared to be separated without further incident, with Dallas eventually heading up the tunnel while Seattle thanked the home support.
Cristian Roldan explained his view of the shoving match.
“I felt like someone was coming toward me and talking some smack, but I ignored it and wanted to applaud the fans for what they do for us,” Roldan said. “Our equipment manager came in trying to sort out the situation and cool some players off and then the scuffle happened. Again, you ignore it because it’s about the team. We don’t want to do anything stupid because the team is affected by those little moments.”