Audio equipment needed exactly this kind of win

Seattle – Every season seems to have an inflection point. A game that, at least in hindsight, you can point to and say “This is where everything turned out, for better or worse.”

Who knows whether Saturday’s 2-1 win over Colorado Rapids It was that match, but there are certainly reasons to believe it might be.

At least, we know it was a match where everything seemed to be working against Seattle Sounders Almost from the start of the game. But rather than hang their heads after giving up on their early goal of the season and playing a nearly half full man in the second straight game at home, the Sounders responded with a performance that was encouraging for both boldness and quality.

“It’s a big win,” Sounders midfielder Christian Roldan told the media. “Obviously under a little pressure after three bad results in a row and a man down. It showcases our character and what we stand for, and that playing as a team and grinding matches.”

Not that the Sounders haven’t shown similar abilities in the past – this was their fourth win of the year, all on home soil – but after three straight losses, it was fair to wonder if some of the fight was out of them.

In that sense, winning a match where it seemed like there was a lot going on against them might be more valuable than just poking your way around the opponent.

For large parts of this match, it seemed like another disappointing outcome. Jonathan Lewis opened the scoring in the third minute, slipping behind the defense in a well-designed game from a throw-in. Then the Sounders spent most of the next 40 minutes doing everything well except score. The most frustrating sequence came in the 40th minute when Yeimar Goméz Andrade fired a single shot off the goal line by a defender and then managed to rebound a virtual header from a point blank over the bar.

The Sounders had some luck a few minutes later, however, when they fired a free kick deep into their end as Nicolas Lodeiro put a precise 60-yard pass at the foot of Jimmy Medranda, who completely dominated it. Then I found Jordan Morris swinging in a tie.

PRO declaring after the facts that the play should have been blown up and replayed again near where it actually went wrong, even though the entire sequence was impressive not only in its diligence but in its execution. Instead of complaining about the defenders delaying the restart, Lodeiro snapped his head and played the ball aggressively forward. Similarly, Medranda and Morris never stopped running, then were fast with the ball at their feet. It was a glorious sequence that showed just how much combat the Sounders still had.

The Sounders didn’t have much opportunity to build on that momentum. Almost after the first half, Kelyn Rowe was shown a second yellow card for mind-wandering by flipping the ball over billboards, forcing the Sounders to play a nearly full half man in the second consecutive home game.

The Saunders again refused to hang their heads, and continued to press the action even if it was short-handed. Although they were unable to maintain a 75-25 possession advantage in the first half, the balance of play continued in their favour. This was rewarded in the 69th minute when Albert Rusnak found Jordan Morris with another pass of excellent weight. Morris was unable to reward Rusnak with a assist when his shot was saved, but he followed through and managed to score a penalty. Lodeiro converted it, his 18th consecutive penalty in all competitions and made it 17 for 17 in the MLS regular season.

The three points the Sounders picked were certainly helpful. That didn’t get them into a playoff, but it kept them only one point and ensured that they still had them within reach to advance to fourth.

Perhaps most importantly, it was a reminder that this is a team that knows how to win and has the talent to do so. Morris’ shimmer, in particular, is the kind that hasn’t always been evident this season. He made his season highs for touches in the offensive third (33), touches in the penalty area (9), forward passes (9), progressive carry (5) and expected goals + assists (1.1).

The Sounders may have finally come up with a solution to their midfield inconsistency. At least until Roux’s red card, Christian Roldan was posted alongside Albert Rusnak. This was the thirteenth midfield duo that the Sounders have used this year and perhaps the most effective since Obid Vargas’ injury and arguably belongs to Joao Paulo. The first half was the Sounders’ second best offensive half by xG this season (1.93) and it looked like Rusnák was freed up to advance a bit more than usual without completely taking Roldan out of reinforcements.

While this may not be the answer for all games, it at least showed some hope and served as another example of Sounders willing to sacrifice individual desires for team goals.

“We’ll be flexible, frankly,” Roldan said. “Every game is different. As we continue to gain confidence, as we continue to get results, I may end up on the right, I may play in the middle of the middle. If there are injuries I could end up at right-back. The important thing is that we continue to believe in our team.

“At the end of the day, if I have to push in midfield, I’ll be a strong captain because without Joao it’s hard to replace, and I’m trying to do a little bit of that.”