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.
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.
Take a bow, Cristian! TheSeattle Sounders rode the wave of Roldan’s 5th minute golazo all the way to the 90th minute to a 1-0 win over the Houston Dyanmo.
The Sounders were strong defensively as Houston had Sounders fans holding their breath and sighing with relief several times in both halves. Chad Marshall was left out of the team 18 for the second consecutive game, but Roman Torres gave a solid performance.
As always, Stefen Frei came up big in goal and kept the all-important shutout, helping the Sounders claim 3 more points and gain traction in the Western Conference standings.
Both sides had offensive chances throughout the game, although the score remained unchanged after Roldan’s 5th minute rocket. The only other notable event was Victor Rodriguez being substituted in the 15th minute with a hamstring injury. Rodriguez just recently returned from concussion protocol, so picking up a new injury is not something Sounders fans were happy to see.
After 11 games played, Seattle sit in third place in the Western Conference tied on points with the second place Galaxy and 5 points behind first place LAFC. However, the Sounders go in to the upcoming week with a game-in-hand that they will play at home on Wednesday against Orlando City.
The upcoming week is important for the Sounders to claim points. Taking at least 4 points from both games would move the Sounders to second place. With the Galaxy hitting a run of bad form lately behind injuries to Romain Alessandrini and Jonathan Dos Santos, the upcoming week is a vital time to pass them in the Western Conference Standings.
League leaders LAFC are on a hot streak that doesn’t seem to be burning out and with rumors that Carlos Vela might not be called up for international summer duty, the Sounders need to grab points while they can to catch the Black-and-Gold.
Injuries are still plaguing the Sounders starting XI that played so dominantly at the start of the season. Gustav Svensson is out for an undisclosed amount of time, Victor Rodriguez has picked up his third injury of the season, and Chad Marshall missed his second game in a row with a knee injury. On the positive, Raul Ruidiaz returned from a month long injury and Will Bruin substituted in for Ruidiaz, marking his return after several weeks injured as well.
Reinforcements in former Sounders wingback, Joevin Jones, and Ecuadorian centerback, Xavier Arreaga, will arrive some time in the next few weeks. Sounders fans were notably surprised to see Arreaga receive a DP tag, especially as the team currently has 4 centerbacks on their roster (Torres, Marshall, Kim and Campbell).
How and when Arreaga will be utilized is unclear, but some fans have speculated on Chad’s retirement coming earlier than the end of the season. Spending the money on a DP caliber defender seems ridiculous if he isn’t in Seattle’s immediate plans, but no clear statement has been made from the front office.
Jones played predominantly as a left-back for the Sounders and occasionally as a left wing, but played almost exclusively the latter during his time in Germany. It’s likely the Sounders will use him as a variation for Rodriguez or if Brad Smith‘s loan from Bournemouth can’t be extended this summer as the Sounders have vocally said they would like to see happen.
On a sunny Sunday in Seattle, LAFC traveled to play the Sounders for the second time in 7 days. This game was, in so many ways, the definition of “so MLS”.
Still battling injuries and missing Chad Marshall, Raul Ruidiaz, Gustav Svensson, Victor Rodriguez and Will Bruin, a depleted Sounders opened the scoring just 45 seconds in to the match. Jordan Morris picked off a faulty LAFC back pass and scored the second fastest goal in club history. And there ends the happy Sounders highlights a mere 1 minute in to a 94 minute match.
Captain Carlos Vela (who else?) equalized in the 4th minute, leveling the score to one all, which would remain the same 90 minutes later after many yellow cards, missed chances (by both teams) and tough soccer.
In the 18th minute, the Sounders went down to 10 men after Cristian Roldan received a red card (which a review committee rescinded) for being pushed in to Eduard Atuesta and making hands to face contact.
The Sounders simply toughed out a tie, which considering Kelvin Leerdam’s stoppage time red card for DOGSO (Denial of Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity), LAFC’s 21 shots (5 on target) and 74% possession was a gritty and well earned point.
The Sounders move to 5-1-3 on the season and sit third place in the Western Conference with 18 points behind LAFC and LA Galaxy.
After an incredibly hot start right out of the gates, the Sounders have softly sizzled due to injuries and lack of first team depth. Raul Ruidiaz, Will Bruin, Chad Marshall, Victor Rodriguez, Gustav Svensson, and Nouhou Tolo all missed Sunday’s match due to injury. While Bruin and Nouhou have not been consistent starters this season, Ruidiaz and Rodriguez make up a bulk of the Sounders’ offensive attack. Chad Marshall is also a defensive powerhouse on the back line, even though Roman Torres is a seasoned backup.
While the Instagram Story of Ruidiaz has indicated he will travel to Minnesota, it is unclear whether or not the forward will factor in to Saturday’s game considering he hasn’t participated in training for several weeks.
The Battle For Who Gets To Call Him Honey Badger
The Sounders travel to Minnesota this Saturday for their first look at the Wonder Wall and also at Ozzie Alonso on the opposite side of the field. The loss of Ozzie has been met with mixed emotions by Seattle fans, but with the current lack of midfield depth more are missing him than not.
Cristian Roldan has made comments to the media that he is especially glad his red card has been rescinded so that he can play against his mentor. That midfield match up will be a must watch for Sounders and Loon fans alike.
With the absence of Ruidiaz for the second straight week hanging over the Sounders starting XI like a pesky cumulonimbus cloud, Will Bruin came up huge bagging two goals as Seattle defeated Toronto 3-2 on Saturday.
Toronto rolled in to CenturyLink Field missing two of their starting defenders and starting goalkeeper, but with two of the highest paid DPs in MLS in Jozy Altidore (5m) and Michael Bradley (6.5m) and the most talked about early season signing, Alejandro Pozuelo.
Toronto and the Sounders are old friends at this point having split the success of two MLS Cups and showing no love lost after either of those games. Nearly 38,000 (another turnout on the lower end for the Sounders) turned out Saturday afternoon to watch the Sounders beat their old MLS Cup rivals off of a Will Bruin brace and a rocket by Cristian Roldan.
The game got off to a disappointing start for Seattle, who saw a wide open Jozy Altidore head home a cross from Pozuelo in the 13th minute. The crowd grew silent, aside from boos for the former/occasional US National Team striker. In the 24th minute, much to the joy of the Sounders faithful, Bruin slotted home a diving hider off a deflected cross from Brad Smith to bring Seattle even at 1-1.
Starting the second half still deadlocked, Seattle found the advantage of possession and offensive pressure. In the 66th minute, the pressure paid off as Bruin knocked in another cross from Smith to put Seattle up 2-1. Two minutes later, Cristian Roldan roofed a laser finish to give the Sounders a two goal cushion of 3-1. Not to be quieted easily, Altidore and Pozuelo connected once more in the 70th minute to give Toronto their second and final goal, ending the game 3-2.
First of Several Challenges
Toronto came in to CenturyLink undefeated and left with their first loss, but they were only the first of two undefeated teams the Sounders will face in April. Thanks to the genius that is MLS scheduling, Seattle faces LAFC two times in seven days both home and away. The Black and Gold have been extremely dominant to begin the 2019 season and are the only team ahead of Seattle in the Western Conference.
They also feature a star forward named Carlos Vela, who has been tearing teams apart all across the country the past month and shows no sign of slowing down. Bob Bradley has his team playing just how he’d like, except for a few injuries, and the results have been undeniably dominant. While the Sounders survived TFC at home, facing LAFC two times in seven days will be a real test.
Brad Smith is Really Good
Brad Smith is really good at soccer. I’m not sure if people nationally are noticing it, except for Stu Holden:
But he’s contributing both offensively and defensively like no other left-back in the league right now. A healthy Brad Smith could be just the key the Sounders need to make a solid postseason run.
The Seattle Sounders went down to Sporting Kansas City for their first matchup of the year. Seattle’s forward Clint Dempsey was unavailable for this match because of his extra one-game suspension on his red card that occurred on March 18th. Less than 4 days before this game where he had to fulfill his suspension, the league announced this extra suspension. Also, outside back Kelvin Leerdam sat out this game due to a red card he picked up March 31st.
In the 34th minute, the Sounders conceived a penalty kick as Nouhou Tolo fouled Johnny Russell in the box. Ilie Sanchez slotted it away to put SKC up 1-0.
Will Bruin evened up the scoring in the 45+3rd minute with a tap-in off of a Chad Marshall header.
There it is! 👍
Will Bruin bags his first of the year to level things up in Kansas City.
All seemed well for the Sounders as they were set to pick up their first points of the season, until five minutes later when Graham Zusi scored and tied the game for SKC.
In the end, the Sounders got their first point, first and second goal, and some more confidence instilled in the team.
Some notes: This was rookie Alex Roldan’s first MLS start, he joined his older brother Cristian Roldan in the Sounders starting 11. He showed a lot of talent and promise in this showing.Captain Osvaldo Alonso came off of the bench (when he did, Nicolas Lodeiro handed over the captains armband). This was his first appearance in 2018 as he is coming off of a quad injury that sidelined him for the start of the season.
I’m very Happy! I was looking forward to this moment and it finally came, Want to thank my family and friends who supported me during all the time i was out of the field. Can’t wait to play again in front our amazing fans. Go @SoundersFC
The Seattle Sounders lost 2 goals to 1 against New York City FC on Saturday in a wet and slippery Yankee Stadium. Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris (USMNT) Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago), Oniel Fisher (Jamaica), and Roman Torres (Panama) are all back from their national teams. The Sounders lined up in their typical 4-2-3-1, playing all their returning internationals but Roman Torres.
Oniel Fisher, Gustav Svensson, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones
Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan
Harry Shipp, Nicolas Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey
The game kicked off just as fans in Seattle were waking up, fans in New York were being poured on. The teams settled in, with the occasional chance resulting in someone looking like they were on a slip-n-slide (seriously, check out the photos and GIFS from the game. They’re hilarious). Both teams had trouble with the standing water on the field, the ball would stop and players had trouble kicking it. Neither team had a dangerous chance until the Sounders struck first with a goal from Cristian Roldan in the 40th minute.
The New York defense turned the ball over near CR7, who passed it to Harry Shipp, who then passed back to Roldan. The ball deflected off a defender then off Clint Dempsey and found its way to Roldan’s feet. Roldan kept running with the ball, and opted not to pass to Dempsey and scored the opening goal (seriously why is this guy not on the national team??).
In the second half, the ref awarded a penalty for Oniel Fisher “pushing” David Villa in the back. While I don’t think he dove, I don’t think he was pushed, my thought is that he slipped with all the water (but hey, I’ll always have a soft spot for Villa as a Barca fan ;)). Anyways, Villa equalized so congratulations on your 50th goal for NYCFC David*.
The Sounders subbed in Will Bruin for Harry Shipp, moving Morris back to play Shipp’s role and Bruin to be the lone striker. The Sounders had several dangerous chances following the sub, but didn’t capitalize on any.
In the 77th minute, David Villa scored again* for NYCFC on a cross from Jack Harrison. This sunk the Sounders ship for good, Seattle never found an equalizer.
*seriously Villa, you couldn’t have waited until you play Portland?!?!?! ok i’m over it
Takeaways and notes
Cristian Roldan deserves to be on the USMNT*.
Stefan Frei got his US Citizenship on Tuesday so — 1. Congratulations!! And 2. He’s now eligible to play for the USMNT
The game should’ve been stopped at half time, it was said during the broadcast that if the ball stopped moving due to rain/standing water that the game would be stopped. The ball did stop moving several times.
Nicolas Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris need to work better on the field. They should go fishing or dancing or something. **
The Sounders play again Wednesday against Orlando (which happens to also be their pride celebration)
I don’t know if this is just me, but can we do something about these game times?
The game Saturday started at 1pm ET, which meant many Sounders fans had to wake up earlyish for a game.
The game against Orlando starts at 7:30pm PT, which means many Orlando fans have to stay up late on a weeknight.
*seriously Cristian Roldan should be on the national team. He and Jordan Morris could use their BFF powers for good. They could be like Captain America and Wonder…Man? And maybe it’s just me, but I would LOVE to see a USMNT that had DeAndre Yedlin, Cristian Roldan, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, and Christian Pulisic all playing together.
**Maybe the Sounders need to start dancing after games again. It worked last year.
It’s great that it was, considering NYCFC came away with three crucial points to propel them to third place in the Eastern Conference and overall, but at the end of the day it really should not have continued past half-time. It poured buckets on Yankee Stadium, and the pitch more resembled a small lake than anything else. Players were kicking up waves of water when they went for the ball, which often skidded to a stop long before it reached its destination. At one point is was said that the match would be suspended if the ball stopped moving entirely.
Which… happened. And yet the match continued! Whatever, I guess. Let the water ballet commence.
Both teams had difficulty acclimating to the conditions, which made for a match that was somehow both extremely sloppy and woefully boring to watch. Aside from the slow-motion loping across the pitch that led to Cristian Roldan‘s goal, very little in the first half stood out. NYCFC’s best (read: least awful) chance came during stoppage time, when David Villa pinged the ball off the crossbar.
There was some concern bubbling up that it would be another one of Those Matches for NYCFC, coming hot off the heels of the U.S. Open Cup loss to the New York Red Bulls. Missed chances, deflections off the post, and bad luck compounding on top of awful weather. Nobody wanted to see that again. We came to be entertained.
Villa heard the call, come on New York, and he responded in kind.
Debate all you want about NYCFC’s equalizer, which came off a penalty call early on in the second half. Contention over referee decisions is the most boring part of football to me. The only hill I’ll die on is that Villa wasn’t diving — in fact, he clearly gets up and keeps going for the ball after he gets knocked down. Which, you know. Kind of defeats the purpose of a dive. He’s grown a lot since he was going for Olympic gold in diving back at FC Barcelona, guys. He isn’t that guy anymore. (Thank god. I hated that guy.)
But nobody can deny the majesty that was Villa’s second goal of the night. Jack Harrison was at his Jack Harrisonest, coolly fighting off Seattle Sounders FC defenders to create space where no space previously existed, and when he sent the ball across the face of the goal, an entirely unmarked Villa was there to chip it in.
I find it funny that teams don’t mark Villa every second of every game. He’s the greatest DP in the history of the league, guys. If you don’t want to mark him, that’s fine, more goals for us — but it makes you look pretty foolish when he’s consistently wide open.
Regardless, that sealed the deal for NYCFC. Ugo attempted to net a third toward the end of the match, but after a great save from Stefan Frei, the ball ping-ponged about in the box to no result. Chad Marshall had Seattle’s best attempt at a final equalizer in the very last seconds of the game, but it wasn’t meant to be. After Villa’s second goal, the clouds broke over Yankee Stadium and the sun shone down on the boys in blue, weak but insistent. A sign, surely, that things were meant to go their way.
David Villa now has over fifty goals for NYCFC, and you can watch them all here. Can you pick a favorite? I can’t. Every little thing he does is magic. (Also a cool stat: He’s never gone longer than a playable month without scoring since NYCFC began. What a guy.)
I’ve seen conflicting reports on the length of Alex Ring‘s contract with NYCFC, but whether it’s one year or two years, here’s my suggestion: Extend it for five more and keep him forever and never ever let him leave. Despite Villa’s brace, Ring was my Man of the Match against Seattle. I don’t even know how many duels he won. At some point it feels futile to keep count.
Alexander Callens is currently my favorite NYCFC player on social media. Why? That boy loves Dragon Ball Z. He loves it. And now he’s graduated from snapping himself drawing watching DBZ episodes and drawing DBZ characters to posting DBZ fanart of himself. I’m so endeared, it’s absurd.
(Disclaimer about how you could not pay me enough to care an iota about either of the US NTs goes here, and how writing about MLS does nothing to change that.) T-Mac and Sean Johnson have been named for the Gold Cup provisional squad! Who knows if they will make the final cut or not. It’s an honor just to be nominated.
A bit preemptive, but in July I’ll be guesting on the hilarious Blue Balls podcast! Gaby Kirschner guested on their most recent episode and it’s my favorite so far. If you’re a NYCFC fan, please give them a listen!
Next week is the Hudson River Derby (again?) at Red Bull Arena (again??) and… yours truly will be MIA due to moving house. But fear not! We do have Sylvana over in the NYRB section, who I’m sure will do a bang-up job writing about the match no matter what color New York ends up being next weekend.
To be a Seattle Sounders fan means to love the team that was born in 1974, to love the boys in famous green, to be “full of hopes an’ full of fears, full of laughter, full of tears, full of dreams to last the years…”
It means to be the “rowdiest” fans in the league, to wear bright green and blue. But most of all, it means to love the team with all your heart. Even if you can’t march to the match, or sing and chant for 90 minutes with 45,000 others.
Even if you can’t lose your voice or follow them to every corner of the country and Canada, if you can only get to a few games per year. To be a Sounders fan means to carry the stories and memories of the team with you. It means to be eternal blue, forever green.
The following list is a collection of anecdotes from Sounders fans (and Cristian Roldan’s family) about their favorite moments as a fan. (Promise they aren’t all the MLS Cup.)
~”When Marco Pappa volleyed the ball over Jaime Pinedo‘s head, to score our second goal, and claimed the Supporter’s shield.” –Jesse Lopez (Oct. 2014)
~”A friend brought me to a bar to watch a game. It was there I became a part of the ECS.” –Danny DiRe
~”Lovedtraveling to our first away match in Vancouver, and seeing the players celebrate with us in ECS.” –Sandra Azevedo
~”My favorite Sounders moment of all-time was Kasey Keller’s last game. When Kasey Keller made that save in [h]is last game against the Earthquakes that put a huge smile on my face.” – Travis Hartman
~”During my first boom boom clap was the first moment I realized I was free of my emotionally abusive husband and I could live a life of my choice. For that, I will be a Sounder till I die.” –Kyla Lanham
~”Meeting the guys at the airport after my sister in law told me they were on her flight.We rushed to SeaTac, and were the only fans there. They were so incredibly gracious! My kids were stunned into mutes when Jordan started talking to us, and I admittedly became tongue tied. Ha!” –Trish Mathias
~”I’ll say watching the MLS Cup final in my dorm and having non soccer fans and Timbers fans cheering with me when Torres scored.” –Nelson Matthew
~”My first time going to see a match at CenturyLink. Having moved to Seattle, we had dinner downtown before hand and were amazed at how many families had on Sounders gear heading to the match. It felt like NFL-level support, and the stadium experience lived up to the hype.” –Nathan Reynolds
~”I went to a Sounders game at the Kingdome, and they had 58,000 fans there.” –Pat O’Rourke (Sounders vs Cosmos on April 9th, 1976)
~”We were lucky enough to be in Toronto for the Cup Final. I was wearing a Kilt, because we win when I wear it, so I was borderline Hypothermic. I will never forget the sudden adrenaline of Torres’ PK and how warm I felt for the next hour standing there cheering our champions. I doubt I’ll ever top that Sounders memory.” –Chad Harris
~ “His first MLS goal” – Cristian Roldan’s cousin
~”My favorite moment was when Sounders played Portland at home last year. I thought it was an outstanding performance by the team and it put Cristian Roldan on the map.” –Alexander Roldan (Cristian Roldan’s brother)
~“One of her favorite Sounders moments was when Jordan scored against the LA Galaxy on the 25th September last year. We were still living in Seattle then, living at the Ronald McDonald House and she watched the game with us at the house. It wasn’t so long after Jordan and Cristian had been to visit us at the Ronald McDonald House and played with Erin. She was really happy that they beat LA Galaxy!! Also she said winning the MLS Cup was another of her favourite moments. Also meeting Jordan, Cristian, Tyler and Jordan Schweitzer when they visited her quite a few times at Ronald McDonald House and played football and generally fooled around!” –Erin Cross’s mom, talking about her daughter’s favorite Sounders memories.
~“When my friend Kaitlyn and I were the only 2 Sounders fans in this one area at an away game but we were louder than all the fans in the section, well, she was louder.” -Elizabeth (“oh yeah and Jordan Morris scored and they won”)
My memory? The MLS Cup. I won’t say how much I cried or for how long. It’s embarrassing.
The entire game I felt like I would explode. I kept thinking “the longer this goes on, the better our chances are”. Somewhere I read something that said “We get 30 minutes of bonus soccer because someone upstairs doesn’t care about your blood pressure.” And that’s how I felt. I was in my basement, surrounded by a light up Rainier beer sign and blimp, and a Washington State shaped table, and my dad, who had told me about 50,000 Sounders fans at the Kingdome.
I must have jumped on and off my couch 1300 times in the 10 minute shootout. I remember every thought I had. On the Sounders 5th kick, it hit me, if Nico Lodeiro missed, we would lose. At that point, I couldn’t imagine experiencing that. I didn’t have to. The Toronto player who went next hit the crossbar. That’s when the first tear came.
When I saw Roman Torres walk up, all I could think about was if he would shoot it over the bar. He didn’t. We had won. All I could think about was that We Had Won The Cup. My hands were shaking. I had such a big lump in my throat, I was crying so much, that when I went up to see my mom, all I could say is “We Won”.
I stopped crying at one point during the press conference only to hear Brian Schmetzer choke up. I had prayed for this moment (and I don’t normally pray). I had made bets on milkshakes (and never lost one). I had more pictures of grown men crying on my phone than I am proud of. I had imagined it 1000 different ways, but now I can’t imagine it any other way.
To be a Sounders fan is what all of these people said. It’s to be at away games, to meet the guys, to do the boom-boom-clap, to carry the memories, it’s to fall in love with the team. To be eternal blue, forever green.