The Seattle Sounders ( 1-1-2, 5 points) did not lose but they did not win their Friday nationally televised game against expansion side Atlanta United FC ( 2-1-1,7 points). Despite taking 13 shots, the Sounders were unable to take advantage of the home field advantage and settled for the scoreless draw.
Both sides were in an offensive mindset from the get go as Seattle had a chance to take the lead in the eighth minute when Jordan Morris hit Cristina Roldan with a pass that Roldan chested just wide of the goal. Atlanta had its chance at taking the lead three minutes later when Hector Villalba beat the makeshift Seattle backline but was unable to get past Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Both sides had good chances to take the lead before the half-time whistle blew but the chances went begging.
Seattle was without starting center backs, Roman Torress ( rested due to international duty) and Chad Marshall who was a game-time scratch due to illness. Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer started a backline of Joevin Jones, Tony Alfaro, Gustav Svenson and rookie Jordy Delem.
While the backline was makeshift, Seattle had most of its frontline firepower, Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris started for Seattle while Clint Dempsey was a second half substitute. Despite playing without star striker and MLS leading scorer Josef Martinez, Atlanta managed 11 shots in the contest.
“To tie on the road with the reigning champion is definitely a positive. ” Atlanta head coach Gerardo Tata Martino said after the game. “In respect to the game, I thought we played well in the first half, but in the second half, Seattle kind of dominated us, with the exception of a couple counterattacks. They were the better team in the second half.”
The international break was an obvious disruption for both teams. Schmetzer and Martino had to rest players due to long minutes played while representing their national teams. Credit to both coaches for believing in their young players and not changing their teams attacking styles.
- Sounders FC is now 1-1-2 on the season and remains in sixth place in the Western Conference with five points.
- Friday’s match marks the first MLS matchup between the two sides. Seattle is 3-1-3 all-time in its first contest against expansion sides, including a 2-0-3 record at CenturyLink Field.
- Dating back to last season, Sounders FC is unbeaten in 10 consecutive home matches in league play, which is the second-longest streak in club history. Seattle also went 3-0-0 at home during the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.