Category Archives: Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

MLS Cup Final: Staff Picks

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

We are less than a week away from the MLS Cup Final between the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC. Both teams are going for their second league championship, with the Sounders having won in 2016 and Toronto in 2017. Following a new format of single elimination playoffs, the Cup final will be played Sunday, November 10th at CenturyLink Field.

Several members of the MLSFemale staff offered their thoughts on who will lift the trophy at the end of the night. The results are… slightly skewed.


Seattle Sounders

Ashley, Official Sounders Reporter: Because Seattle invented MLS Cup…The team overcame so many injuries this season and not to mention players leaving and retiring. They busted their butts to get to this final and this city deserves to host a championship.

Keira, Official NYCFC Reporter: Sounders because they are a huge reason we have a cool soccer culture in the US. Great teams find ways to win the big games and that’s what Seattle does. Dig deep and find ways to win.

Bridget, Official MNUFC Reporter: I have to go with the Sounders. They have multiple players who peak in high pressure matches and yet nothing about their game plan leans on just these players. It’s a slightly different edge than Toronto.

Eve, Official Montreal Impact Reporter:  If I put my Toronto bias aside, I would say I feel like Seattle have the edge because they have finally been a consistently strong unit over the whole of the season, unlike in their two previous Cup runs.

Aya, Atlanta United Video Correspondent: Seattle because Toronto beat us.

Dayna, Co-founder of MLSFemale: Totally unbiased opinion — I think Seattle will win it. Home field advantage is real in Seattle.

Abigail, Seattle Contributor and USWNT Correspondent: Seattle of course! This team knows how to show up in big moments. Lodiero, Ruidiaz, and Frei are all big game players. This team is built for playoffs especially at home

Sylvana, Official NY Red Bulls Reporter and MLSFemale Social Media Manager: Definitely Seattle. They are a cohesive unit and have been able to execute a game plan. And they were able to put aside the mighty LAFC! They definitely seem to have the advantage going in.

Sarah, Official D.C. United Reporter and MLSFemale Editor-in-Chief: Seattle capitalizes on home field advantage to win the Cup and wow the home crowd, but Nick DeLeon scores some absolute stunners that turn the match into a nail biter.

Toronto FC

Liz, Co-founder of MLSFemale: I’m Canadian and BMO Field was the first MLS match I ever attended which helped put me on the path to co-creating MLSFemale.

Jess, Official Rapids Reporter: This isn’t a final I’m looking forward to because it’s very much more of the same. I would have loved to have seen an LAFC/Atlanta matchup instead. Normally I go with the conference my team plays in, but this time I see Toronto as the lesser of two evils.

Araceli, Official LAFC and Sporting KC Reporter: Toronto FC. It’s a difficult choice since both teams have a long history with each other in the MLS Cup Final. I think Stefan Frei and Quentin Westberg are strong keepers and could keep both sides in the game well into extra time. But I’m rooting for The Reds mostly because Seattle knocked out LAFC.

Kickoff is set for 3pm EST on ABC. MLSFemale will live-tweet the final. Follow along @MLSFemale.

Featured image: MLS Soccer

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @WhiteZinWench

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Sounders Roll Past RSL to Advance to 3rd Western Conference Final In 4 Years

Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

The 2019 season hasn’t been pretty for the Seattle Sounders. The team has been ravaged by injuries, often lacking an identity on the pitch, and hasn’t had back to back victories since April. But if there’s one thing Seattle fans are learning, it’s that pretty doesn’t matter in the new single elimination playoff format. Win and you move on. And that’s exactly what the Seattle Sounders are doing right now.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

With a quick four day turn-around after playing 120 minutes last Saturday, the Sounders were fired up Wednesday night in front of a home crowd of nearly 38,000 fans. The first half played to a stalemate with Real Salt Lake maintaining the majority of the possession, but the Sounders managing several quality shots on goal.

When play resumed for the second half, the Sounders were forced to make an early substitution as Roman Torres, who has been a powerful presence since returning from suspension, injured his hamstring in the 49th minute. DP center-back Xavier Arreaga replaced the Panamanian. As the second half progressed, so did Seattle’s intensity, accuracy, and dominance.

After Victor Rodriguez replaced Joevin Jones in the 62nd minute, the substitute made an offensive impact immediately. Only 2 minutes later, Nicolas Lodiero swung in a near-post ball from a corner-kick and found Gustav Svensson’s glorious, Swedish head for a fantastic flick in to the back of Real Salt Lake’s net. The Sounders celebrated feverishly, as did the fans packed into CenturyLink Field.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

Fifteen minutes later, in the final ten minutes of regulation play, Gustav Svensson played a beautiful ball down the wing to Raul Ruidiaz, who found a streaking Nicolas Lodeiro. Lodeiro hammered in this golazo:

The captain celebrated jubilantly, as did every Sounders player and fan, knowing that with less than 10 minutes left and up 2-0, they were moving on to the Western Conference final for the 3rd time in four seasons.

Frustrations boiled over several minutes later as Everton Luiz picked up a red card for a nasty tackle on Svensson. Players from both teams came together and while Luiz took his time to leave the field, walking through Seattle’s bench and through the towering flags of the ECS, the final whistle blew to secure the Sounders another home playoff victory. Seattle will face the winner of El Traffico, which will be played Thursday, October 24th at 7:30 PM. The Sounders would host LA Galaxy next Tuesday at 7 PM or travel to LAFC on the same date and time, depending on the outcome of the LA derby.

Saying Farewell To A Legend

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

While the Sounders’ win advanced them to the next round of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, there was another historic event that occurred as referee Alan Kelley blew the final whistle last night. Nick Rimando, an absolute legend of both MLS and the position of goalkeeper, concluded his final match. Rimando retires as the league leader in wins, shutouts, saves, games and minutes played. He won two MLS Cups with RSL and featured throughout the years with the US Men’s National Team. And from an outside perspective, he also seems to be an absolute class act human being.

Featured image: Seattle Sounders

All other images:  @jillmpeck on Instagram

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Sounders Snag Dramatic OT Win Thanks to Jordan Morris X3

Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

The 2019 MLS Comeback Player of the Year had himself a day on Saturday, October 19th at home in CenturyLink Field. Jordan Morris’ 3 goals lead the Seattle Sounders in their 4-3 overtime win over FC Dallas in Round One of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

Raul Ruidiaz opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a long-distance screamer, which is not the textbook Rui goal Sounders fans are used to. The damp fans erupted all around CenturyLink as the golazo slid past FC Dallas goalkeeper, Jesse Gonzalez. Morris then doubled the lead less than 5 minutes later from a well-placed Joevin Jones assist.

Within grasping distance of the halftime whistle, FC Dallas got on the score sheet when an unmarked Reggie Cannon slotted a ball past Stefan Frei. Matt Hedges thunderously headed in Dallas’ second goal in the 64th minute, eliminating the Sounders’ 2 goal lead.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

Jordan Morris came to the rescue thanks to a Gustav Svensson flick from a Nicolas Lodeiro corner, but the lead would again be dashed by Bryan Acosta just minutes from the final whistle. As the game entered extra-time, it was Morris again for the Rave Green in the 113th minute. Morris’ goal was his third on the day and the final of the game, giving the Sounders a 4-3 victory and helping the team one step further in the playoff chase.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck
Photo Credit: Jill Peck

The Sounders take on their longtime Western Conference (and playoff) rivals, Real Salt Lake, Wednesday October 23rd at 7 PM at CenturyLink Field. RSL come to Seattle after a dramatic win over the Portland Timbers, robbing Cascadia fans everywhere of a playoff rematch from 2018.

Other Highlights

FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez was fined by MLS DisCo following Saturday’s game for two separate incidents. The first was hands to the face on Nouhou Tolo, which occured a good 30 yards out of Gonzalez’ own goal.

Following this incident, when Gonzalez’ hand was swatted away by Nouhou, Gonzalez fell to the ground in a heap. MLS also fined him for this incident citing simulation/embellishment.

Besides Jordan Morris (and Stefan Frie, who had an amazing shot-stopping performance), the fan hero of the game was this gentleman who “assisted” in running the clock out in OT.

In typical Seattle playoff fashion, this game was dramatic, rainy and a full display of tough kids.

All images:  @jillmpeck on Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @savage_hart

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Seattle Sounders claim no. 2 seed in West with 1-0 win over Minnesota

Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

After an incredibly unpredictable run of games, the Seattle Sounders grabbed 3 points at home against Western Conference rival, Minnesota United, to lock up the 2nd spot in the West and a home road in playoffs.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

In their fan appreciation match, the Sounders honored the return of their longtime captain, Osvaldo Alonso, prior to kickoff and the fans showed Ozzie nothing but love. General Manager Adrian Hanauer presented Ozzie with a framed copy of the recently elected Sounders Best XI, which featured Ozzie in the midfield. The Honey Badger gave the entire stadium a clap and wave before heading in to the opposing team’s locker room, a feeling that must have felt odd for the man who spent nearly a decade in Rave Green.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

In front of nearly 48,000 home fans, the Sounders pushed the attack from the opening whistle. Jordan Morris and Joevin Jones provided plenty of pressure from the wings, while Nicolas Lodeiro was a welcome return to the middle of the pitch after missing the previous two games from injury. Due to another red card suspension, Xavier Arreaga missed the match and was replaced by Roman Torres, who had only returned to eligibility in the 18 man lineup the previous weekend after serving a 10 match ban for substance violation.

The Panamanian made a thunderous return to starting form in the 29th minute. After a corner kick played in fell outside the box, Joevin Jones sent in a vicious cross that found the head of Roman Torres perfectly. This goal was Torres first in Rave Green and couldn’t have come at a more dire time for the Sounders.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

The Sounders managed to generate a few more offensive chances and also held off the Minnesota United attack as the match ended 1-0 in favor of Seattle. While the result was probably not what Osvaldo Alonso would have hoped for his return to CenturyLink, the Sounders and their fans relished the 3 points, which secured them the second seed in the Western Conference.

Up next the Sounders will face FC Dallas, who had a disgustingly dominant 6-0 win on Decision Day vs Sporting Kansas City, at CenturyLink on Saturday October 19th with a kickoff of 12:30 PM.

Playoff Preview

The biggest concern to the Seattle Sounders over the back half of the season has been health and squad depth. The Sounders reached deep in to their reserves for many games this season and dropped more points at home than ever before. However, the Sounders were able to maintain the third longest playoff appearance streak in American professional sports (behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Antonio Spurs, respectively) by securing their 11th straight playoff appearance.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

While it appears Victor Rodriquez is sidelined by yet another injury, Seattle is entering playoffs with nearly their entire squad healthy and ready for battle. Both Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro are questionable to be at full health after recent injuries, but Gustav Svennson, Kelvin Leerdam and Brad Smith are all back to full health after missing long individual stretches. Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris are as hungry as ever, the former having been named to Opta’s MLS Best XI. In this final game, Joevin Jones seemed to show flashes of his former self as well.

While the road to MLS Cup is not a simple one for the Seattle Sounders, they just might be hitting their stride at the right time.

All images:  @jillmpeck on Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @savage_hart

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Sounders Rule as Cascadia Cup Champions after 2-1 Win at Portland

Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

This is the season of 2-1 defeats for both the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers. The two teams traded defeats at home this year with Portland taking a 2-1 victory in Seattle and the Sounders grabbing a 2-1 win at Providence Park on Friday. Seattle hoisted the Cascadia Cup trophy in back-to-back seasons after the victory and, most importantly, grabbed a much needed 3 points to remain in playoff contention.

The first half contained a few moments of offensive and defensive highlights from both teams, but nothing as impactful as the show both teams’ supporters groups displayed. For the first 33 minutes of the match, neither supporter group waved flags, sang songs, yelled chants or performed their respective duties as the Timbers Army or Emerald City Supporters and Gorilla FC.

The stadium, usually tightly packed with sound, was still for those 33 minutes. The television commentators had a tough time navigating the silence and, honestly, the players seemed put off as well. However, both teams came together at the start of the match to show support for the message the fans were intending to send to the league. The picture of both teams together is one that I never thought I’d see, but the photo sends a powerful message that two utter rivals can put their dislike aside for the message of anti-fascism and anti-racist.

Photo cred: Jill Peck
Photo cred: Jill Peck

MLS Commissioner, Dan Garber, was in attendance for the match, which may or may not have impacted the display shown by both groups. However, the response the league has shown towards the anti-fascist and anti-racist cry from supporters groups across MLS has been disappointing. A silent protest by two of the most prominent, most vocal supporters groups in what has consistently been voted and considered the biggest rivalry in MLS sends a strong message that hate will not be tolerated in this beautiful game, whether in the stands or on the field.

The match itself had the usual amount of ticky-tack fouls, offensive aggression, and defensive prowess this rivalry has become known for. The Sounders opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after Cristian Roldan thundered home a rebounded deflection from a Jordan Morris cross. Morris spent most of the game running circles around Portland’s Zarek Valentin down the left wing.

Photo cred: Jill Peck

The Timbers were quick to push back after the opening goal, testing centerback-pairing Xavier Arreaga and Kim Kee-hee with many offensive chances. Kee-hee and Arreaga stood strong, the latter committing so hard to the proper shirt tuck that fans are slowly starting to embrace the trend after his stellar showing against the powerful Portland offense.

Photo cred: Jill Peck

Although Jordan Morris appeared to pick up a knock late in the first half and seemed unlikely to continue, he and the rest of the Rave Green came out blazing in the second 45. In the 47th minute, Morris again drove past Valentin and sent a pin-point pass in to Raul Ruidiaz, who converted from 8 yards out.

Photo cred: Jill Peck

The Timbers pulled one back in the 54th minute when Diego Valeri’s free-kick took a deflection in to the back of Seattle’s net. The rest of the game showed chances for both teams, but after the full 90 minutes and SEVEN additional stoppage time minutes, the score held 2-1 in favor of Seattle. With the Western Conference standings tighter than they’ve been in years, every point counts and these were 3 huge points Seattle desperately needed to take home with them.

Photo cred: Jill Peck

The Sounders will face Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy at home next Sunday at 3:30 PM for another important Western Conference battle. The Sounders are hoping to snap a home winless streak, the longest in franchise history, against the high-powered, Carson-based LA team. It has been reported that both Brad Smith and Victor Rodriguez should be available for selection, providing Seattle with a true first team selection since May.

Featured image: @SoundersFC 

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @savage_hart

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Seattle Love

Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

I’ve been quiet in my game summaries since Seattle lost at home to Portland on July 21st. After that game, I wrote an article that generally said that losing to Portland wasn’t the end of the world, but the Sounders were not alright. After squeaking out a 1-0 victory on the road in Houston the following week, nothing has gone right for the Sounders in every match that’s followed.

Image Credit: Jill Peck

In the month of August, the Sounders are winless and have gathered only 2 points in 4 games. The Rave Green lost 3-2 at home to Sporting Kansas City, who at the time were second from the bottom in the Western Conference. While I have a great deal of respect for Kansas City as a club, that was a game the Sounders should have taken 3 points from. But they let in 3 goals at home, an occurrence fans are starting to see often, and couldn’t capitalize on their own offensive chances.

Photo Credit: Jill Peck

Then Bruce Arena and the New England Revolution came to town. While New England is on an upswing, this too should have been a sunny Sunday afternoon for Sounders fans. A can of Rueben’s brew, some boom-boom-clap, 3 points and back to business. But instead, the game tied 3-3. Six goals in the back of the Sounders’ net in 2 games. And then they took to the road.

A double game week on the road is never an easy task, especially for a squad absolutely gutted by injuries like the Sounders are. But taking another 3 goal beat down in Salt Lake and not even recording a shot on goal is embarrassing. It’s uncharacteristic. As Brian Schmetzer has said recently to the media, it is not the Sounders way of play. So again, the Rave Green marched on to visit another Western Conference foe: the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Down in Carson, the Sounders lineup was still missing 3 to 4 key starters and facing a Team Zlatan that was shining with fancy new TAM/GAM players (that would be DPs anywhere else in the league, mind you). But the Galaxy gave the Sounders a much needed break in the 6th minute when Daniel Steres was red carded for DOGSO (denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity). This should have been a golden opportunity for the Sounders. A man advantage, even against a team led by Zlatan, should basically guarantee 3 points.

But much to the dismay of commentator Taylor Twellman and Sounders fans alike, Seattle did not high-press the opportunity. Instead, they sat back and did not alter their game plan in the slightest. In the 42nd minute, Raul Ruidiaz finally put the ball in the back of the net, but the man known as Zlatan leveled the score only 3 minutes later. The Sounders midfield gave Sebastian Llletget plenty of time and space to send in a lofted ball to the most towering Ferrari in all of MLS and this happened:

Zlatan would go on to draw his own penalty and convert from the spot in the 65th minute. Then, in the 82nd, David Bingham decided to play as recklessly as the Sounders defense has for the past month and a half and do this:

Own Goal struck once again and became the only reason the Sounders, who were up a man from the 6th minute, took a point home from LA. Seattle now sit in 5th place and face Portland away next week and the Galaxy back home at CenturyLink the following week. No slouch of a schedule on the back of what is nearly the worst run in Sounders history. However, the worst run in Sounders history ended with the firing of Sigi Schmidt in 2016. Falling in the standings, letting in 11 goals in 4 games and unable to keep a healthy squad has left Sounders fans wondering what in the world can turn things around.

So… what is going on in Seattle?

Well, the first thing to note is Chad Marshall retired. While I realize that happened at the end of May, it’s impact has been felt in more than just the on-field play. Marshall was the leader on the field even without the captain’s armband. Before him, Ozzie Alonso kept things in check. With both of these impactful leaders departing this season, the squad is looking around (literally) for someone to lead and finding no one.

The second note is our signings have been a bust. Joevin Jones has returned a shell of the defender he led the league in assists in 2016. His play has been inconsistent at best. Xavier Arreaga, the DP center back Seattle vastly overpaid, has shown no chemistry alongside Kim Kee Hee and made several mistakes that have lead to scoring opportunities for opponents.

Before the summer transfer window closed, former MLS player Luis Silva and Argentine Emanual Cecchini were brought in. Cecchini has been hyped to fans as a CDM to fill the Ozzie void, while Luis Silva is simply a more seasoned Harry Shipp-style winger. Neither of these signings fit the most pressing needs of the Sounders and General Manager Garth Lagerway continued to state to the media that he “likes our squad the way it is.”

Injuries have been the third note of issue for the Sounders. Brad Smith and Kelvin Leerdam have missed a combined 11 games as of late. Victor Rodriguez has been out due to injury for 13 games so far this season, Raul Ruidiaz has only played 6 of the last 11 league games and Gustav Svensson has only logged 4 full 90 minute games since week 9 of the season. Oh, and Roman Torres went and got himself suspended for 10 games for taking some sort of illegal vitamin.

The final note of issue facing the Sounders has been the gradual decline and recent exit of co-owner Joe Roth. While the Sounders front office recently introduced 11 Seattle-based families (including Macklemore and his wife and Ciara and Russel Wilson) to take over Roth’s majority share, fans were quick to speculate that Roth’s lack of recent involvement and exit from the club were most likely a key factor in the lack of major signings lately.

Sounders fans tend to have two pools of thought: Rave Green ‘Til I Die or What Have You Done For Me Lately? The former will continue to support, cheer and love the Sounders. They are the first to point out that the last time Seattle went on a run like this, they won MLS Cup. The latter demand a DP signing when things get rough, sell their tickets after what was the worst 4 game home stretch in Sounders history and insist that Brian Schmetzer isn’t the man to lead this team.

Both groups come from a place of Seattle Love. They love a team that plays hard and with passion for the full 90. They know the history of a team that has tallied the second most points in all of MLS for the past decade. For both of these groups it isn’t necessarily MLS Cup or bust, but play hard. Win games you should win. Score goals and try to keep less than a dozen out of your net in a 2 week stretch of games. But for many of the reasons I listed previously, we’ve all been greatly disappointed.

Featured image: @SoundersFC on Twitter

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @savage_hart

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Bheem Goyal’s Debut Shutout Inspires Soccer Community

Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

Eight year old Bheem Goyal had some big shoes to fill on Wednesday night. The Seattle Sounders have had two of the best in league history starting between the sticks in Kasey Keller and Stefan Frei. Bheem spent time training with the Sounders during the week after signing his official contract on July 10th, the first signing of the secondary transfer window for the Rave Green. The young man, who is bravely battling A.L.L. (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia), pulled off a shutout during his stint in goal. Watch below:

After the proud and emotional start to the game, the friendly play resumed. Both teams fielded starting XIs that would not be considered first team regulars, but there were several highlights for the Sounders.

  • Joevin Jones returned to the starting lineup after missing the past two games for the birth of his first child and was able to grab an assist on the home team’s only goal.
  • Cristian Roldan was given the captain’s armband, an act that many fans would like to see a more regular occurrence.
  • 16 year old Danny Leyva was given another first team start. The potential is evident in the youngsters play and this is likely not the last start he’ll receive this season, especially if the Sounders front office continues to falter on making any new signings this transfer window.
Image: Jill Peck

Marius Wolf, Paco Alcácer and Jadon Sancho all scored for the German giants, who finished in second place in the Bundesliga last season. Dortmund definitely controlled play in the second half, but Jonathan Campbell was able to head home his first goal in Rave Green to make the final score 3-1.

The midweek showing was not only a good chance for minutes for players who don’t usually see field time, but also a very friendly exchange between two powerhouse clubs. Dortmund players and staff were in Seattle for several days leading up to the game and were able to experience and meet the community.

While the game ended in a losing score for the Sounders, the stadium and fans only showed support for newcomer, Bheem Goyal. The introduction of Goyal to the first team was a joy to witness in person and has been shared through Twitter by many major sporting outlets and athletes from around the world. There’s been no word from head coach Brian Schmetzer whether or not Bheem will push Stefan Frei for starting minutes going forward, but the kid sure put on a show.

Featured image:@jillmpeck on Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @savage_hart

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A 16 Year Old Scored the Game Winning Goal and You Can’t Tell Me Otherwise

Sounders top Whitecaps 1-0 in Seattle.


Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

Image: Jill Peck

The Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps met for the second time this season after a scoreless draw up in Vancouver in March. The Cascadia rivals met on Saturday with both sides somewhat depleted by international call-ups. For Seattle, 16-year-old Danny Leyva made his debut start, the third youngest player to start in MLS behind Freddy Adu and Alphonso Davies.

Along with the debut start of Leyva, USL veteran Justin Dhillon made his Rave Green debut. The Sounders signed Dhillon to a first-team contract after Will Bruin sadly tore his ACL in training and while Raul Ruidiaz is still away on international duty with Peru. Seattle’s only other forward on roster is 17-year-old Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, who made his substitute debut in the 90th minute.

While both teams were goalless through the first half, the Sounders showed significant pressure in the second half and tested Vancouver goalkeeper, Zac MacMath. In the 60th minute, MacMath came off his line to shut down a breakaway from Dhillon. The ball deflected off of MacMath (after what can barely be defined as contact with Dhillon) and fell to the feet of teenager, Danny Leyva. From 30 yards out, Leyva picked his head up and lobbed a ball in past not 1, not 2, but 3 Whitecaps defenders.

Image: Jill Peck/mlsfemale

After the Sounders thoroughly celebrated Leyva’s debut goal, the stadium fell to a murmur, then a roar of boos as referee Alan Kelly motioned for a VAR check of the goal.

For this. This “contact” from Dhillon, who had full possession of the ball and took a shot on MacMath, who made no intentional contact with the ball except for it deflecting off his body.

When the ball fell to the 16-year-old only a split-second later, he had the composure to do this:

But the goal was called off for what the referee referred to as “sportsmanship”, claiming Leyva should have played the ball out upon seeing MacMath on the ground injured. However, the referee himself did not blow the whistle to stop play and MacMath’s injury was not a head injury. Nevertheless, the youngster was robbed of his debut goal by Alan Kelley and Zac MacMath, who both heard it from the Sounders faithful the remainder of the match.

Image: Jill Peck/mlsfemale

With 8 minutes of stoppage time added on for the MacMath/VAR antics, in the 96th minute Kelvin Leerdam and Brad Smith combined with a stellar passing sequence capped off by Leerdam slotting home his 5th goal of the season to give the Sounders a 1-0 victory.

Image: Jill Peck/mlsfemale

Celebrating A Legend

Image: Jill Peck/mlsfemale

Before the match, Chad Marshall was honored with a brief retirement ceremony and given the Golden Scarf. As a fan, it was daunting to watch him stand out on the field for the very last time while he spoke briefly, teared up slightly and walked away to the blaring tune of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”. It was perfect but still felt too soon. You can read my extended take on Marshall’s retirement here:

Featured image: @jillmpeck on Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @savage_hart

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A Last Dance with Chad Marshall

Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

Chad Marshall retires as the most decorated MLS defender of all time.

MLS rookies at draft day. From left to right: Clint Dempsey, Ned Grabavoy and Chad Marshall.

By the numbers, Chad Marshall was an incredibly dominant defender with 409 games played, 26 goals scored, 16 assists, and 35,843 minutes played. The only player in MLS history to win Defender of the Year 3 times (2008, 2009 and 2014), 4 times MLS All-Star, 4 times MLS Best XI, 4 times Supporters Shield Winner and 2 times MLS Cup Champion.

Marshall walks away from MLS with the 2nd most games and minutes played by a field player in history. He is decorated, accomplished and undeniably an amazing player. But there was so much more to what made and continues to make, Chad Marshall a great human being.

In July 2014, my husband and I got married the night before the Portland Timbers were traveling to Seattle for the one and only time that season. As an inaugural Sounders season ticket holder and boisterous Rave Green fan, my husband wanted to tie this in to our big day. We decided that we would wear our wedding attire to the game and bring as many friends and family as possible.

Through our season ticket holder benefits, we were able to watch the last 20 minutes of the game from field level and allowed to linger after the final whistle to high-five players and watch the post-game events. As we were relishing in the Sounders 2-0 victory and taking in all the sights, Chad Marshall spotted me wearing my big, dirty and previously-beautiful dress. He made eye contact and pointed at me. I waved, thinking it was so cool he even had noticed, and he began to walk over to us.

“You’re wearing a wedding dress! Did you guys just get married?” he asked with a huge grin.

“Yesterday.” My husband and I said in unison, like two star-struck fans.

“That’s awesome! Let’s take a picture!” Chad said. So we did!

Photo Credit: Ashley Hart Savage

In that moment, after a massive win against a major rival, Chad Marshall was so down to earth and kind. He made our day (and my husband’s screen saver for several years) and made a lasting impact on us that transcended what we saw of him as a soccer player.

Four years later, my husband and I were attending the Sounders Season Ticket Member Celebration with our 2-year-old son in tow. He was too young to understand how cool it was to attend this event. He loved sitting on the team bench, running around the field at CenturyLink and people watching all the big kids, but he had no idea who any of the players were. He just ran around saying “play soccer!” and that was enough for us.

During the event, we were given the opportunity to meet team players, which was such a special opportunity for my husband and myself. As we were waiting in line, we realized that Chad Marshall was one of the players posing for pictures and signing autographs. When we came face to face with him, I awkwardly asked, “Can you take a picture with our son?” to which he swiftly responded “Absolutely!”

Photo Credit: Ashley Hart Savage

We knew our son, Sawyer, wouldn’t understand how cool this moment was. But we did. It was a full circle moment having stood with Marshall on that same field 4 years earlier in our wedding attire and now with our son, who had attended every Sounders match that fell outside of nap and bedtime since he was 3 months old, taking a picture with Chad Marshall.

My husband and I don’t know Marshall. These two encounters are all we have to base our opinion of who he is off the field and outside of all the record-breaking stats. But those two moments highlighted to us what so many of his peers have said about him publicly in the wake of his retirement: that the man off the field was just as much a GOAT as the player.

Thank you, Chad. For everything.

Featured image: @SoundersFC

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Sounders Earn Tough Point Away at Philly


Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

After only two days rest and a cross-country flight, the Seattle Sounders gritted through a tough 0-0 tie in Chester, Pennsylvania against the Philadelphia Union, earning them 7 points in 7 days.

Heavily rotated, the Sounders came in to the game vs the Union with a 5-3-1 formation, an unusual look for the Rave Green. The lineup included 3 center backs, Kim Kee-Hee, Roman Torres and Jonathan Campbell, and two wingbacks in Nouhou and Saad Abdul-Salaam. The Broldans (Alex and Cristian Roldan) made up the 3-man midfield with Jordy Delem and Nicolas Lodeiro sat behind Will Bruin offensively.

The modified lineup resulted in very little offensive threats, producing only 6 shots on the night. However, the parking of the defensive bus did help Seattle maintain a clean sheet, their fifth of the season.

Alex Roldan and Jonathan Campbell both made their first start of the regular season, each putting in decent performances, especially Campbell who helped take some of the pressure off Kim and Torres who have both played extended minutes lately.

While Raul Ruidiaz, Kelvin Leerdam and Brad Smith all made the bench of the 18 man lineup, Jordan Morris, Victor Rodriguez and Chad Marshall did not travel to Philadelphia and their timetables for return have not been specified by the club. While the signings of Joevin Jones and Xavier Arreaga will help fill the void of Rodiguez and Marshall, neither will be available to the Sounders until mid-July due to international call-ups.

The Sounders travel next to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, May 26th. While Sporting has been battling their own depth issues lately, the KC Cauldron has statistically not been a location of success for the Sounders.

After that match, the Sounders head in to another double game week with two road games at FC Dallas Saturday, June 1st and the Montreal Impact Wednesday, June 5th. Morris, Torres and Cristian Roldan will all be absent from both road games while Ruidiaz, Lodeiro and Delem will miss the Montreal match.

This will leave the Sounders missing 6 of their regular starters vs Montreal before taking a welcome break until June 29th at home against the Whitecaps.

Featured image: @SoundersFC

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