SEATTLE – Here go the Seattle Sounders once again recovering from an awful start to the season to make a summer run toward a playoff berth.
If only Cristian Roldan felt the Sounders were playing well during this run of three straight wins and six straight without a loss to get back into contention in the Western Conference.
“We’re grinding out games, we’re winning these games because we’re playing good defense and we’re scoring that one or two goals,” Roldan said. “That’s the scary part. You think about six unbeaten and you think if we start playing well and like we’re supposed to, we can go on a really long run.”
Roldan, Gustav Svensson and Harry Shipp all scored their second goals of the season, and the resurgent Sounders ended New York City FC’s four-match win streak with a 3-1 victory Sunday.
Seattle completed a busy eight-day stretch with its third straight victory, picking up a crucial nine points in its attempt to rebound from a terrible first-half to the season. Seattle hasn’t lost since a June 30 setback to rival Portland.
“We put ourselves in a really big hole, so we need to collect points. I don’t care where we collect them, how we collect them, we need to collect points because this team deserves to be in the playoffs,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said.
Roldan scored in the 36th minute making a smart run through the penalty area without going offside and finding himself on the end of Kelvin Leerdam’s deflected pass. Roldan’s right-footed shot beat Sean Johnson to give Seattle the early advantage.
Svensson doubled the lead in the 51st minute, beating Johnson from 25 yards out. Nicolas Lodeiro left the pass for Svensson making a late run and Johnson could barely get a hand on the strike. Shipp’s goal in the 86th minute was the clincher after NYCFC’s Jesus Medina scored midway through the second half.
The three goals allowed Seattle to finally crack the 20 goals for the season, becoming the last team in MLS to reach the mark. Lack of offense was behind much of Seattle’s struggles the first half of the season, but has picked up in the past three games with the addition of new designated player Raul Ruidiaz to the lineup. Ruidiaz had the only goal in Seattle’s 1-0 win at San Jose earlier in the week and was a constant threat against NYCFC without finding a goal.
NYCFC vaulted into second place in the Eastern Conference thanks to its four-match win streak and was trying to pull off the difficult task of winning on both coasts just a few days apart. NYCFC won at Orlando City on Wednesday, but was unable to do the same in Seattle. Medina’s goal was his fifth of the season, but NYCFC struggled to create scoring chances.
NYCFC coach Domenec Torrent was unhappy with the scheduling that forced his club to play across the country just days apart.
“I was very proud of my players because it is not easy. I don’t have to make an excuse about that – it’s a fact,” Torrent said. “We have a big problem in MLS. If you want to play the balance in MLS, it’s not fair in three days to play two games.”
NYCFC had gone 434 minutes without allowing a goal until Roldan’s strike, a span of more than four matches. The last goal NYCFC had allowed came in the 52nd minute of its 3-2 loss to Chicago on June 30.