Written by Brandon Clearwaters
Seattle, WA- In front of a home crowd of 40,070, Sunday’s game marked the ninth time in ten years that Sounders FC have opened the regular season in front of the home masses. Over that time, the club accumulated a 5-4-0 record all-time in season-openers entering Sunday’s game against LAFC. That record would break even at 5-5 after a 1-0 loss to the newest club in MLS.
Sunday’s match was the inaugural match for LAFC, who joined MLS as the league’s 23rd franchise before the start of the 2018 MLS season. Sounders FC were without forward Jordan Morris who suffered a right ACL tear back on February 22nd in the first leg of the CCL round of 16 matchup. Sounders GM and President Garth Lagerway confirmed that Morris would be out for the entirety of the 2018 season.
LAFC started off the match with strength and force in first Forty-Five minutes. Just two minutes into the match, LAFC almost had a dream goal as Latif Blessing had a header that went off the post. Then at the four-minute mark, another excellent opportunity for LAFC went begging in front of the net. Then in the eleventh minute, the early attack paid off as forward Diego Rossi notched the Club’s fist ever goal. It was the fastest goal ever scored by an expansion team. The Sounders had five goals on target in the first half of the match, but just couldn’t connect on the net. Sounders FC won the duel battle in the first forty-five minutes, but at halftime trailed one, nil.
Entering the second half, the Sounders came out with full force and strength with multiple opportunities to score. In the fifty-eighth minute, Sounders midfielder Magnus Wolff whipped it in the corner of the net, which looked like the equalizer, however, Gustav Svensson was called for a push off. Then again, in the sixty-fifth minute, midfielder Handwalla Bwana with an instant impact found Will Bruin for a goal, but it was called back for offsides. Being offside seemed to be a huge problem Sunday for the Sounders. In the Eighty-third minute defender Tony Alfaro was sent out of the game with his second yellow card. The Sounders were reduced to 10 men for the remainder of the game.
Sunday’s loss for the Sounders is only the second loss at CenturyLink field in 30 matches (regular season and playoffs) since Brian Schmetzer took over as head coach in July of 2016.
Next up, Sounders FC returns to CCL Champions league play on Wednesday for the first leg of the quarterfinals match with Chivas Guadalajara at home. The second leg will be played March 14th in Guadalajara, Mexico. Then the Sounders return to MLS play March 18th in Dallas, Texas.