Confidence is brimming in Seattle, even if the wins aren’t perfect

Seattle Sounders
Photo of Cristian Roldan celebrating his goal with fellow Seattle Sounders teammates courtesy of Mike Fiechtner/Seattle Sounders FC.

Editorial — Cristian Roldan had plenty of room to take more than one touch. Inside the penalty area, the ball fell right to Roldan, a midfielder for the Seattle Sounders. He dribbled around defender Giancarlo González and then fired a shot past the out-stretched David Bingham.

That wasn’t his only goal last night for the Seattle Seattle Sounders. Instead, Roldan tapped another goal in, which was the game-winning tally over the LA Galaxy. Seattle is a team that normally starts out slow in MLS play. However, this season, they did exactly the opposite.

Seattle, fired up after falling in the playoffs last year to Portland, came out blazing. However, the long international break this summer didn’t help them. Key players like Roldan and Jordan Morris were gone throughout the entire Gold Cup. Raúl Ruidíaz was battling with Peru, and shocking people everywhere in the Copa America.

Once the team reunited in full, the pace began to pick up. There were some hiccups on the way, of course. For example, the Sounders dropped what should have been an easy three points at home to arch rival Portland. However, just two weeks ago, the Sounders went into Providence Park and lifted the Cascadia Cup trophy.

Now, a week later, Seattle endured another tough test.

It’s not easy to go up against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, the Sounders kept him quiet throughout most of the match, and the entire first half. Zlatan did find the back of the net and then got comfortable, but Seattle managed to notch three well-needed points at home.

It Doesn’t have to be Pretty

Not every win is going to be pretty.

This was exactly that case. The Sounders didn’t defeat the Galaxy with a ton of flash. However, when they needed to be brilliant, they were. The Sounders did give up three goals, including one scored by Jorgen Skjelvik, who hasn’t scored in years.

After the match, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer didn’t lay into his team for giving up three goals. Instead, the Seattle native said he’s just living in the moment.

“It was an exciting game for TV, for the neutral fans and our fans went home happy,” Schmetzer said, during his press conference. “We’re happy that we got three points. We’re happy that we’re in second place. So, I’m going to take this victory and enjoy this moment… Ask me the same question on Wednesday, and then I might give you a different answer.” 

Schmetzer also hinted to keeping Roldan higher up the pitch. In recent matches, Schmetzer has moved Jordy Delem to the defensive midfield slot with Gustav Svensson. However, Roldan now has three goals in the last two games with his new positioning.

“His attacking prowess has been there from the beginning,” Schmetzer said. “He’s always scored timely goals, scoring long-range bombs from distance. When he’s up and down on this side, he has the power, endurance and mental toughness to get up and down the field, even if he’s tired… His drive to succeed and win put him at the back post for that goal.”

Roldan: “A win is a win”

Roldan admits that too many goals were conceded.

However, he doesn’t take anything away from the three points that were earned on home ground. After the match, he said that if you play exciting football, a lot of goals will happen. What matters, though, is the three points.

“We use this momentum now against Colorado and hopefully get a good result,” Roldan said.

The two-goal performance will come in handy, too. Roldan — and Morris — are heading to New York to train with the U.S. Men’s National Team for friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay. The Sounders midfielder has a chance to go up against his club teammate, as Nicolas Lodeiro was called up to the Uruguay squad.

Roldan said that his coach’s decisions have helped him find success on the pitch.

“It’s worked so far,” Roldan said. “Things have been going well. Sometimes you shift the team around and it makes it more complex for teams to defend. Teams aren’t used to me playing on the right.”

What’s Next?

Seattle will now take a break, along with most teams in the league, for the FIFA international break. The USMNT, as mentioned, has two matches against Mexico and Uruguay. Roldan and Morris have certainly made cases for themselves to start under Berhalter.

Meanwhile, the Sounders will return to action against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. The match will be held at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. The game will kick off at 9 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. PT.

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