Chaos ensues in Seattle Sounders, Los Angeles FC draw at CenturyLink

Seattle Sounders FC
Jordan Morris took only 46 seconds to score at home over Los Angeles FC on Sunday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Jane Gershovich/Seattle Sounders FC

Seattle, Washington (April 29, 2019) — Only eight days separated the last meeting between the Seattle Sounders FC and Los Angeles FC players. While Seattle had a midweek match against San Jose, LAFC went back-to-back with one of their Western Conference foes.

Seattle and LAFC have sparked a new rivalry within MLS. It essentially came out of left field. Despite sharing a conference, there was really nothing connecting the two sides except former Sounders backup goalkeeper and current LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller. There was no rivalry trophy, like there is for Seattle’s Cascadia Cup.

Chaos ensues in Seattle Sounders, Los Angeles FC draw at CenturyLink

However, it became a rivalry nonetheless.

After quick goals were scored by Jordan Morris and Carlos Vela, the two sides showed off their strength and fought for dominance. Kim Kee-hee was given a yellow card by referee Ted Unkel in the 10th minute. Then, eight minutes later, chaos ensued.

Cristian Roldan and Mark-Anthony Kaye began exchanging words and shoves. Then, Eduard Atuesta came in and shoved Roldan on the should. Another shove from Kaye resulted in Roldan’s hands going up and making contact with Atuesta’s face.

Despite the small amount of contact, Atuesta sold the motion by falling to the ground with his hands covering his face. In Major League Soccer, any player that makes contact with another players face with their hands is automatically given a red card. Roldan was sent off in the 18th minute by Unkel.

However, the Sounders didn’t fall back, despite being down a man. Seattle held a talented attacking LAFC to zero goals for the next 72 minutes and various amounts of stoppage time. Late in the match, Seattle went down to nine men in stoppage time of the second half. Kelvin Leerdam was shown a straight red card for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

Despite the draw, head coach Brian Schmetzer praised his group for their resiliency after the Roldan yellow card.

“What I’m most proud of with that group is that they all came together after a tough week,” Schmetzer said. “It was their third game in eight days, some of them are tired, heavy-legged. They actually came together as a group and formed a really strong bond amongst themselves that I know is going to help us down the road. Those types of matches are critical to have.”

Three Takeaways

  1. The rule needs to be looked at: Let’s all put aside our differences and talk about the hands-to-the-face rule. There was clearly no intent by Roldan to have his hand in contact with Atuesta’s face. Also, as Schmetzer said during his post-game remarks, Atuesta was the instigator, blindsiding Roldan with a shove to the side. That was Roldan and Kaye’s battle, and Atuesta should have never gotten involved. The fact that Atuesta didn’t receive a yellow for shoving Roldan — or even Kaye — is beyond absurd.
  2. Atuesta’s dramatics are, well, dramatic: Roldan’s contact to Atuesta’s face could be classified as a brush. However, Atuesta acted like someone hit him with a wrecking ball at full-speed. The dramatics of flopping, rolling around seven times after getting a little clip to the heel and diving are not welcomed in soccer. That makes the game unlikable and gives soccer a bad rap.
  3. Carlos Vela can’t be stopped: Make that 11 goals in 10 matches for Carlos Vela. There is no better player in Major League Soccer right now than the Mexican international. Vela has been so good ever since coming to LAFC. He’s been given the captain’s armband and his smile on the pitch is constant and effective. Vela is on track to having one of the best seasons in MLS.

What’s Next? 

A quick trip to the new Allianz Field will reunite the Seattle Sounders FC with former longtime Sounder Osvaldo Alonso. The two sides will square off at 5 p.m. PT in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, LAFC will return to the Banc of California Stadium to host the Chicago Fire on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT.


PHOTO: Jordan Morris took only 46 seconds to score at home over Los Angeles FC on Sunday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Jane Gershovich/Seattle Sounders FC


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