The Western Conference leaders were held by an Atlanta United team, who was looking to make it two wins in a row. The Sounders came into this matchup as the favorites, as they were on a 4 game win-streak, and were looking to start establishing themselves as a hard team to beat away.
Who Else, but Ruidiaz?
The first goal came in the 6th minute after the Sounder’s number 9, Raul Ruidiaz, scored a header from a corner kick to give the league leaders the lead early in the game. Atlanta United’s goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, couldn’t do anything about Ruidiaz’s unstoppable header as it headed into the top right corner of Guzan’s goal. The Peruvian striker scored his 6th goal of the season so far, being just one goal away from the current league goal-scorer, Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez (7 goals).
Let The Suffering Begin
One would believe that an early goal would boost the Sounders’ confidence and give them the driving seat for the rest of the match like previous games, but the complete opposite stemmed after that. Despite going behind early in the match, Atlanta United was not willing to go down easily, as they knew a win at Lumen Field would put them at 11 points, just 3 away from the Eastern Conference leaders, New England Revolution.
In contrast to the previous game against the Los Angeles Football Club, the Sounders were having trouble staying in control in this match. Atlanta United saw themselves doing everything in their power to not come out of Seattle empty-handed. The game statistics state that the East Coast team attempted to control the game with 63% possession of the ball and 10 shots, in comparison to Seattle’s 37% possession and 7 shots throughout the match. Although the Sounders still had some looks to extend their lead, they spent most of the time trying to stop Atlanta’s fast-paced attack.
Heartbreak In The Final Moments
Seattle seemed to have been getting away with a narrow win at Lumen Field, until Atlanta United midfielder, Brooks Lennon, was fouled in the penalty area by the Sounders’ Left-midfielder, Bradley Shaun Smith in the 85th minute. The turning point of this match could be reflected as the referee points to the penalty spot as Smith, the scorer of the second goal in their 2-0 win last week, puts his hands on his head knowing that his tackle could cost his team the 3 points.
Moments later, Atlanta’s striker Josef Martinez scores in the 86th minute from the penalty spot, fully taking advantage of this opportunity to steal 1 point back home to Atlanta. The Venezuelan attacker scored his second goal of the season, which served as a confidence boost after missing the previous season due to an ACL injury.
What’s Next For Seattle?
Despite slipping up at home, Brian Schmetzer’s men continue to be, both, on top of the Western Conference and the league. To their benefit, the LA Galaxy, their closest competitors in the Western Conference last week, slipped up this week against the Portland Timbers. The Sounders currently have 17 points and will face the newest member of the MLS, Austin F.C., at Lumen Field next Sunday, May 30th at 6:30 PM (PST).