the Seattle Sounders returned to action after the international break with a trip-to-face Minnesota United. It wasn’t the greatest performance – at least not in the end – but the Sounders made it worthwhile with a 2-1 win. The win means Seattle are now unbeaten in three MLS games and five in all competitions. Add to that the win, which was also the first time the Sounders had scored multiple away goals since a 3-1 win San Jose earthquake On September 29, 2021, Seattle was able to begin work for Nico Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz as both played 45 minutes.
In the end, the victory came largely thanks to an outstanding first half, punctuated by João Paulo’s right-wing golazo, which he hit with jet engine power and bounced off the underside of the bar. Beyond goal, Seattle dominated possession for the first 45 minutes, making 10 shots in total. The Sounders secured the win with an own goal forced by a crucial run and pass from Jordan Morris, who looks increasingly like the dominant player we know can be with any passing game.
Minnesota made a late push and ramped up the pressure especially in the final 10 minutes of the game. First they drew a penalty which Emanuel Reynoso completed decisively, then they put the Sounders under pressure but Brian Schmetzer’s side held off the attacks and came away with a win and the ability to give several players minutes and other players rest . They’ll need all of that when they get back to business on Wednesday, as hosts NYCFC in the first leg of the CCL semifinals.
8th’ – A skillful pass from the Sounders sets up a couple of excellent touches for Will Bruin in the box before playing a ball for Cristian Roldan but the shot is easily intercepted.
14′ — Minnesota charge down the field from a Sounders corner. Abu Danladi shoots from just outside the box but is deflected and hits the bar.
24′ — Joao Paulo wins a dangerous free kick from Nico Lodeiro. Cristian Roldan touches directly in front of the GK, but it is blocked. Morris gets a follow up, but it’s high.
27′ — A bit of tricky interplay frees Morris from behind Minnesota’s defense. Morris hits a cutback for Will Bruin, whose shot is saved at the near post.
34′ — João Paulo hits an absolute dime to Nico Lodeiro coming in from the left. Lodeiro hits service with a hammered volley that Dayne St. Claire corners.
38′ — Joao Paulo!!! Flowing football down the left leads to a cutback pass from Lodeiro to an oncoming JP whose hammered first shot opens the scoring! 1-0 sounders
49′ — Jordan Morris doubles the lead! His speed creates some tough decisions for Minnesota, and Morris hits a ball meant for Raúl Ruidíaz, which deflects off the CB. 2-0
81′ — Jackson Ragen runs through to clear a ball in the box but only gets the man. Emanuel Reynoso kicks in and sinks the penalty, sending Frei the wrong way. 2-1
85′ — Minnesota threaten with a corner kick, but the first shot is blocked just short of the goal line, the follow-up shot is saved and cleared by Frei.
The boys are back (the boys are back in town): It’s been a while since the Sounders were able to put together a true full-strength lineup, or even a gameday roster, that included all the players that would make an ideal XI. The team isn’t quite there yet, but they’re getting closer. Nico Lodeiro celebrated his first start of the season in MLS and his first regular season appearance since coming on as a second-half substitute in the opener against Nashville. Raúl Ruidíaz made his MLS debut as a half-time substitute after also struggling with injury. Approaching a big series in CCL vs NYCFC, the Sounders appear to be as strong as ever.
John MVPaulo: Narratives are at their best when they’ve had time to develop and mature, to meander through the story. João Paulo excelled from the moment he first donned a Sounders shirt and last year he had a good run at the MVP but fell short when he and the team stumbled at the end of the season. In 2022 we will not take any risks. JP was a monster against Minnesota, and it went above and beyond its target. He won 75% of his 13 duels, had 2 key passes and completed 84.8% of his passes. Oh, and he scored that wonderful goal. He does everything on both sides of the ball and has as good a case as anyone for MVP.
Build Momentum: Momentum is real or not, it’s hard to tell in sport. Whether it actually means anything or not, it seems like the Sounders are building some as they’re now five games unbeaten in all competitions and have beaten their opponents 10-5 in that stretch. With two games ahead of what will be some of the most important of the team’s MLS era, they should be full of confidence as they prepare to face NYCFC in the CCL semifinals. They will take every advantage they can get.
JP on his goal: “The best part is that I seem to be very lucky against Minnesota (3 career goals out of 6 against them, all crackers). I’m happy about that, but even more happy to be able to help us win.”
— Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) April 3, 2022
I’ll let OptaJack tell you.
man of the game
A total of 290 votes