It wasn’t a must-win in any traditional sense. The Sounders still have a very long journey ahead and this is only the third game of their season. But they needed to win Saturday at home against the Montreal Impact.
The Sounders needed three points to finally start the season and build some momentum during a stretch that, with so much off time and travel, has been a struggle. They needed three points to help give them a shot at finally hosting an MLS Cup Final. They needed three points to separate them from the equally struggling Cascadia rivals, Portland Timbers.
Finally, they needed three points because they have none right now.
Instead, a man down, the Sounders fell again at CenturyLink, 1-0.
Kelvin Leerdam acted out in a way we’re not used to. He lost his cool. After a questionable foul, the Dutch fullback responded with a slap to his opponent’s face. It was soft contact, but nevertheless, an automatic red card.
This is the incident for which Leerdam was sent off pic.twitter.com/byh6JlVPFX
— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) April 1, 2018
The Sounders responded well in the second half, looking particularly dangerous on corners and free kicks. And you couldn’t tell they were a man down.
They were dangerous. Gustav Svensson had a chance in the 62’ but it went over the bar. Chad Marshall’s 77’ header went just wide. Nico Lodeiro tried to sneak in a ball to the far post at 84’ but Impact keeper Evan Bush came up with a good save.
The Sounders deserved their equalizer and one point, particularly since the Impact kept gifting the Sounders opportunities. But, in the end, the Sounders were denied their season’s first win.
Reasons to Worry: Sounders keep inflicting their own wounds with these clumsy red cards. They have no viable Jordan Morris replacement; no one that can match his speed, which could have been a game-changer. They appear not to have a first-choice left back.
Reasons for Hope: The Sounders’ reaction in the second half shows you how well they can play. They just need to start every match like they end them. Ozzie Alonso’s return is on the horizon.