Apr 15, 2018; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza (17) battles for the ball against Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan (7) during the second half at Children's Mercy Park. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Sounders scored their first two goals of the season and earned their first point of the year Sunday at Children’s Mercy Park against Sporting Kansas City. Will Bruin and Cristian Roldan each found the back of the net for a Seattle side that struggled to convert in its first three matches.
Here are three takeaways from the afternoon.
First goals not enough for Schmetzer
The Seattle Sounders, held scoreless in their first three outings, found the back of the net twice against Sporting Kansas City. Will Bruin converted off a long throw-in and Chad Marshall flick-on header in stoppage time of the first half, before Cristian Roldan buried a square pass atop the 18-yard line in the 73rd minute.
Still, a late equalizer on a Graham Zusi counterattack meant that Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer walked away from the contest unhappy.
“We should have won the game,” Schmetzer said. “But that’s how MLS is. You’ve got to credit (Graham) Zusi for making a play at the end there. I thought that we put enough into the game that we could have come out with the full three points. We out-dueled them, which was good. They out-possessed us, obviously. Peter (Vermes) has them playing at a high level. Still, I think we left something out there. Even so, for the guys that put in all of that effort and all of that work – it stings a little bit. But it gives them some good incentive for the next game.”
Osvaldo Alonso returns
Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle’s long-time captain and talisman, finally donned the Rave Green and took the pitch for the Sounders after an absence that limited him to one appearance dating back to last September.
The holding midfielder completed 24 of 25 passes in his first 22 minutes back with Seattle, causing trouble for Kansas City in its defensive third and helping create several late opportunities for the Sounders.
Defensive breakdowns continue for struggling Seattle
When Roldan put Seattle on top with 17 minutes to play, Seattle looked poised to grab a shock road win at Sporting Kansas City and return home with all three points, despite the suspensions of Kelvin Leerdam and Clint Dempsey.
Zusi’s equalizer in the 78th minute put an end to that, as the midfielder caught Seattle out of position after Sounders left back Nouhou Tolo was caught downfield attempting to press an attacking advantage, and Alex Roldan, making his first MLS start, failed to drop into the Cameroonian’s spot to cover Zusi.
With Seattle struggling to hold its back line together in its first four matches of the season, the breakdown suggests that the Sounders may face a difficult climb out of the Western Conference cellar as the season progresses.