Sounders FC win its third road game in seven days, a first in club history; After three-match road swing, Seattle returns to the Emerald City to prepare for lone home clash of the season with archrival Portland on Sunday, August 29 (7:30 p.m. PT / ESPN, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM)
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Playing its third road match in seven days, Seattle Sounders FC (12-3-6, 42 points) concluded its cross-country trip with a 2-1 win against the Columbus Crew (6-9-6, 24 points) on Saturday evening in Central Ohio. Saturday’s match marked Seattle’s first trip to newly constructed Lower.com Field, with the match being played in front of a crowd of 19,401 and a national television audience on network FOX. A rematch of the 2020 MLS Cup Final, today’s result moves Seattle’s all-time record in the regular season against Columbus to 7-4-5, with the club holding a 5-2-1 advantage in Ohio. The result marks the club’s third road win in the past seven days, the first time Sounders FC has earned nine points in a three-match road stretch in club history.
After a scoreless first half, Columbus struck first when substitute Bradley Wright-Phillips controlled a deflected ball off a corner and was able to guide it into the back of the net in the 77th minute. The lead didn’t last long as Seattle answered back courtesy of Xaiver Arreaga in the 88th minute. Following a corner kick, Arreaga was able to put the finishing touch on a Jimmy Medranda cross to level the score. The comeback was completed just a minute later courtesy of Will Bruin’s first goal of the season, on Medranda’s second assist on the night. The Colombian wingback dribbled through the left side of the 18-yard box before laying if off to Bruin for a deft shot into the far corner of the net.
After three consecutive away matches in Portland, Dallas and Columbus over the past seven days, Sounders FC returns to the Pacific Northwest tonight. Next comes the 2021 MLS All-Star Game in Los Angeles on August 25, with a club-record six Sounders FC players selected. The Rave Green return to action against archrival Portland Timbers on Sunday, August 29 (7:30 p.m. PT / ESPN, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM). The Cascadia clash is part of a special day of soccer that sees NWSL sides OL Reign and Portland Thorns meet in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader at Lumen Field. The day will also see the clubs celebrate the life and legacy of Jimi Hendrix.
Seattle sits atop the Western Conference standings with 42 points. It grows its lead over Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy after those sides drew and lost this weekend, respectively.
The result marks the club’s third road win in the past seven days, the first time Sounders FC has earned nine points in a three-match road stretch. The past week is also the first time the club has ever had to play three MLS regular season matches in a seven-day span.
Forward Will Bruin opened his 2021 account with the late game-winner in the 89th minute. The 11-year MLS veteran has 72 career goals, good for 10th among active players.
Xavier Arreaga’s 87th-minute equalizer was his second goal of the season, having previously found the net against LAFC on May 16.
Jimmy Medranda’s two assists were his first of the season, to go along with his two goals scored in 2021.
Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer made eight changes to his starting lineup from the squad that defeated FC Dallas 1-0 on Wednesday. Fresh into the starting group were goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland, defenders Alex Roldan, Yeimar Gómez Andrade and Brad Smith, midfielders João Paulo, Nico Lodeiro and Fredy Montero, in addition to forward Raúl Ruidíaz.
After bouts with injury during the first half of the season, club captain Nico Lodeiro made his first start of 2021 on Sunday afternoon. Coincidentally, Lodeiro’s last start in Rave Green came during the 2020 MLS Cup on December 12 of last year, in Columbus against the Crew. Since joining Seattle during the 2016 summer transfer window, the Uruguayan playmaker has appeared for Seattle 126 times in regular-season play, starting 122 of those contests, recording 33 goals and 58 assists.
Seattle defender Nouhou made his first matchday roster since May 30 in a 1-1 draw with Austin FC, making the substitutes’ bench. The Cameroonian international was previously out with an adductor injury. He now heads to the MLS All-Star Game in Los Angeles next week, where he will join five of his Seattle teammates. He has made nine starts in 2021.
Sounders FC moves to 7-4-5 in regular-season play against Columbus, with the club holding a 5-2-1 advantage in the State of Ohio. Outside of MLS regular-season action, the two sides have met twice: the 2020 MLS Cup in Columbus (a 3-0 win for the Crew), and the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final (a 2-1 victory for Seattle at Lumen Field).
Today’s match in Ohio was also noteworthy because it marked the first encounter between Seattle and Columbus at newly constructed Lower.com Field, which opened earlier this season. All previous matches in Ohio between the clubs had taken place at Columbus’ original home, Historic Crew Stadium.
In 2021, Sounders FC is now 7-1-2 away from the Emerald City, good for 23 points, the best mark in the league.
Following the club’s third and final road match of the week on Sunday in Columbus, six Sounders are heading to the MLS All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Raúl Ruidíaz, João Paulo, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Nouhou, Alex Roldan and Cristian Roldan were among the 28-man roster that will face the Liga MX All-Stars at Bank of California Stadium. This marks the first MLS All-Star appearance for each of the six Seattle players, who were all selected via the fan, player and media vote. Notably, the simultaneous All-Star Game selection of Alex and Cristian Roldan marks the first time a pair of brothers have been named to an MLS All-Star Game in the same year.
Saturday’s match on FOX marked Seattle’s third network television contest of 2021. The club previously played in front of a free-to-air TV audience when the Rave Green hosted Atlanta United on May 23 at Lumen Field. That match was also FOX. Additionally, Seattle’s 2-1 May 9 win at Portland aired on ABC.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Columbus Crew 1
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Venue: Lower.com Field
Referee: Joseph Dickerson
Assistants: Peter Balciunas, Andrew Bigelow
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo
VAR: Sorin Stoica
Weather: 85 degrees and clear
CLB – Bradley Wright-Phillips 77’
SEA – Xavier Arreaga (Jimmy Medranda) 88’
SEA – Will Bruin (Jimmy Medranda) 89’
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (caution) 79’
CLB – Luis Diaz (caution) 85’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Cleveland; Alex Roldan (Kelyn Rowe 76’), Xavier Arreaga, Shane O’Neill (Will Bruin 84’), Brad Smith (Jimmy Medranda 76’), Yeimar; Cristian Roldan, João Paulo, Nicolás Lodeiro (Josh Atencio 83’); Fredy Montero (Nicolas Benezet 64’), Raúl Ruidíaz
Substitutes not used: Spencer Rickey, Nouhou, Danny Leyva, Abdoulaye Cissoko
Total shots: 17
Shots on goal: 5
Columbus Crew – Eloy Room; Jonathan Mensah, Vito Wormgoor, Waylon Francis (Kevin Molino 90’+2’), Saad Abdul-Salaam; Darlington Nagbe, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan, Liam Fraser, Derrick Etienne Jr. (Luis Diaz 73’); Miguel Berry (Bradley Wright-Phillips 65’)
Substitutes not used: Isaiah Parente, Alexandru Matan, Evan Bush, Harrison Afful, Aboubacar Keita, Erik Hurtado
Total shots: 11
Shots on goal: 2