Sounders earn a point with 1-1 draw in Toronto
The Sounders headed to Toronto hoping to get back on track after a handful of humiliating losses to Eastern Conference teams in the last couple weeks. After a goal for each team within nearly a minute of each other in the second half, the match ended 1-1, a result that the Sounders are probably happy to take back to Seattle.
Some late changes were in the cards for Seattle, both of which were mostly a surprise after it seemed that it would have a fully healthy squad for the trip. Clint Dempsey, who played in all of the USA’s Copa America matches last month, is getting an extra weekend of rest and is expected to play next weekend against Los Angeles. Brad Evans was possibly a bigger surprise, as the captain was suddenly listed as questionable on Friday and ended up being left entirely out of the 18.
Toronto was also missing three of its biggest players – Michael Bradley, Clint Irwin and Jozy Altidore – but those were mostly expected all week.
The first half was a pretty even affair, both sides getting half-decent chances that they were unable to do much with. As expected, Sebastian Giovinco spearheaded most of Toronto’s attacks, but his efforts were either saved by Stefan Frei or off target. Jordan Hamilton and Jay Chapman were also in the mix for Toronto with a couple of shots off target.
Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan and Aaron Kovar were all in the mix for Seattle’s attacks, and even though they were moving the ball well and opening space, none of their final balls were particularly dangerous to the Toronto goal. Toronto definitely had the best chances in the first half, but the match stayed a fair 0-0 at halftime.
After the teams came out for the second half, the Sounders experienced another injury blow to the defense as Chad Marshall came off and was replaced by rookie Tony Alfaro. The Sounders attempted a couple of counter-attacks fairly early, but nothing came of those early attempts.
A quick Toronto attack spearheaded by Giovinco led to the match’s first goal, after Stefan Frei parried the Italian’s effort straight to Jordan Hamilton, who fired it into the net. But less than a minute after that goal, the Sounders perfectly executed an attack down the left flank – Joevin Jones put in a perfect ball over the top for Morris, who turned two defenders before excellently curling it into the net out of the Toronto goalkeeper’s reach.
Chances came both ways throughout the rest of the half, and the Sounders threw every attacker they had at Toronto’s goal, but they just couldn’t coax the ball into the net.
Man of the match: Morris came up huge for the Sounders with his goal, and again showed why the Sounders wanted him so badly.
Turning point: The minute in which both teams scored both changed the game and kept it the same; goals were scored, but both teams still only took a point apiece.
One reason to worry: Both of Seattle’s first choice center-backs appear to be injured now, and the team will be hoping that they’re both quite minor headed into a big matchup with LA next weekend.
One reason to relax: Morris is one of the few bright spots for the Sounders, and his goal was one of the best this team has scored all year. I expect a few more from him this season.
Spenser Davis also covers the Sounders for Sounder at Heart.