SEATTLE – Cristian Roldan knows the Seattle Sounders will spend much of the upcoming week talking about defense.
But on Sunday, it was all about offense – especially the boost that he provided.
Roldan scored his second goal of the game in the 89th minute to give the Sounders a 4-3 victory over the LA Galaxy in a matchup between two teams vying for second place in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.
The teams combined for four goals in the final 15 minutes of the game – two for each side.
“We gave up too many goals, and we were stretched at the end. But a win is a win,” said Roldan, who, along with teammate Jordan Morris, will join the U.S. men’s national team for Friday’s friendly against Mexico in East Rutherford, N.J. “Sometimes, these games turn into track meets and a lot of goals happen. But in the end, you win the game in exciting fashion.”
Morris, who had given the Sounders a 3-2 lead in the 77th, helped set up Roldan’s game-winner with a pass into the penalty area from the left wing side. Brad Smith sent it toward the right side, and Roldan ran onto it at the top right corner of the 6-yard box. His shot went off diving Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham into the back right corner of the net.
It was the sixth goal of the season for Roldan. His first of the day gave Seattle a 2-0 lead in the 55th.
“A lot of that play happened from the left side where those guys worked their butts off, both defensively and offensively,” Roldan said. “I watched them do all of the work. I just end up in the back post, make a clever run, and hopefully get rewarded.”
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer added: “On that last goal, it was two tired teams out there, and it was going to be on a piece of quality. We got it with fresh legs from Brad Smith to get behind their defense, and then from Cristian and his determination to get to the back post.”
In front of 46,673 fans at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders (13-8-7) took over sole possession of second with 46 points.
LA (13-12-3) remained tied for fourth with 42.
“Certainly, if you judge this game by the outcome, there were some nervy moments,” Schmetzer said. “Those guys in that locker room don’t quit. A lot of teams might have said, `Oh my god, they tied the game up.’ Then we go up 3-2 and they tie it at 3-3. This team keeps going and finds a way to persevere in those tough moments.”
Raul Ruidiaz gave the Sounders a 1-0 lead in first-half stoppage time with his 11th of the year. A pass from Nico Lodeiro across the 6-yard box caught Bingham at the near post and left Ruidiaz wide-open at the far post for a 5-yard tap-in.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in the 66th to get Los Angeles on the board, his 23rd of the year and third against the Sounders. He then assisted on Uriel Artuna’s goal in the 75th to tie it at 2-2. Artuna now has three.
After Morris put Seattle back in front, Jorgen Skjelvik tied it for the Galaxy in the 81st with his first of the year.
“If you analyze the game, I think the game was very even,” Los Angeles coach Guillermo Barros-Schelotto said. “Sometimes they played well, and sometimes we managed the ball and the situation. We scored three times and we fought and found the places deep in the second half. At the end of the day, the result is very bad for us, but we have six games left.”
Seattle had not won at home since beating Atlanta 2-1 on July 14, going 0-2-1 since then.
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