Apr 22, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC defender Roman Torres (29) and Minnesota United FC forward Abu Danladi (9) play for the ball during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders pulled off their first win of the season at home against Minnesota United Sunday. Despite a resurgent second half from Minnesota, a pair of first-half goals and a late strike in stoppage time were enough to see Seattle take all three points in front of an announced home crowd of 39,477 in a 3-1 win.
Seattle midfielder Gustav Svensson said the performance will allow the team to relax psychologically after an 0-3-1 start to the season.
“We had pretty good flow in the game,” Svensson said. “We dominated big parts of the game. We did the runs we were supposed to do, we played the way we were supposed to do. We won duels, we helped each other. The first half-hour we played a good game, and now that we have three points it’s going to be a little bit easier to relax a little bit.”
Svensson opened the scoring with a thunderous shot from 25 yards out in the 23rd minute, beating Minnesota’s Bobby Shuttleworth to the upper left corner. The goal was Svensson’s third in 42 appearances for the Sounders.
Bruin doubled the advantage two minutes later, finishing off a Cristian Roldan cross from the left alley at the near post with his first touch.
Svensson told reporters after the match that he’d expected the Sounders to bag a third goal in short order.
“I thought right after that 2-0 that we were going to go even harder on them,” Svensson said. “We stepped back a little bit, unfortunately. We just have to look at that and learn from that because I think we can close the game even more after that 2-0.”
Despite the deficit, the Loons fought their way back into the match. Recently-signed Designated Player Darwin Quintero linked up with Abu Danladi, stretching out Seattle’s back line as Minnesota fought for a goal.
Minnesota answered in the 66th minute, when a floating Quintero cross was looped back across the face of goal by a Christian Ramirez header. The ball bounced off the right post before rolling into the net for the forward’s first goal of the season.
The Loons nearly smashed in an equalizer in the 89th minute, when Seattle keeper Stefan Frei swatted an attempted cross straight to a waiting Francisco Calvo inside the 6-yard box. Calvo’s effort was from a wide angle, however, and his shot smashed into the outside of the net.
Jordy Delem bagged an insurance goal for Seattle in the fifth minute of stoppage time. The substitute poked a ball away from Minnesota’s Rasmus Schuller and straight to fellow substitute Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey then played Delem into space and the 25-year-old finished past Shuttleworth for his first MLS goal.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer was pleased with the result but insisted his team could have played better.
“I challenged them at half time,” Schmetzer said. “Okay you want to be a championship team. Championship teams are able to finish games out. Get a third goal and make sure that the game becomes a little easier. After the game, my opinion changed a little bit, and I said ‘well, championship teams actually win ugly sometimes. You’ve got to gut things through. In October, no one is going to remember that this was a hard-won game, they’ll just see the score-line and they’ll say it’s three points.”