Seattle 2 – 1 NY Red Bulls


Seattle Sounders vs. New York Red Bulls

Two strong sides came to Seattle’s CenturyLink Field tonight.  Both teams got to the MLS playoffs last season, so anything less this season will be a disappointment.  Tonight should be a great clash of powerful Major League Soccer.

May 31, 2015

Hosts Seattle Sounders is ranked 1st in the MLS Western Conference (8-3-2), with 20 goals this season.  In May the Sounders won three times (3-1 on NYCFC and 2-0 on Vancouver away, 1-0 on Colorado at home), drew once (0-0 vs. Kansas City at home) and lost once (3-2 to Columbus away).

Visitors New York Red Bulls are ranked 3rd in the MLS Eastern Conference (4-3-5), with 15 goals this season.  In May the Red Bulls registered 1 win (2-1 over their local rival NYCFC at home), 1 draw (vs. Dallas away) and 2 losses (2-1 to New England away and 2-0 to Philadelphia at home).



Image Source:

Seattle Sounders seem as the favourable side tonight, with Forward Clint Dempsey in top form, having opened for the past 10 games, and scored 7 this season so far.  Dempsey will be playing aside Obafemi Martins in the attack, with a 4-4-2 formation.  Seattle kept a clean sheet with no goals scored against them in the past 3 games, and overall 7 clean sheets this season.  New York from the other side, is recovering from a humiliating defeat to Philadelphia at home last week.  The Red Bulls will play with a more extensive midfield with 4-5-1, and Bradley Wright-Phillips at front.  Phillips scored this season 5 goals, having played in the past 10 games.

Seattle have to upper hand for most of the first 15 minutes of the match.  The Sounders green shirts keep coming into New York’s half.  Martins seems to be too fast for his own good at times, finding himself alone deep in New York territory with no support.  Yet, the Sounders appear to be moving back down to defend in large numbers and an organized fashion.

On next 15 minutes of the first half, Seattle seem to lose most of its advantage.  That is, still having the upper hand in the match, but just by a bit.  New York Red Bulls begun to find its tempo and organize the back and midfield, being able to deny Seattle from the opportunities the Sounders are trying to create.  Dempsey needs to continue create opportunities and plays as he does brilliantly, but Obafemi Martins cannot stay on his own at the front and every time either run out of steam, or run out of play options with nobody to pass the ball to.  Midfielder Marco Pappa must come out more and support Seattle’s frontal attacks.  On the other side, the New York Red Bulls are not able to create too many chances of their own, not too much joy to Bradly Write-Phillips either so far.

30 minutes into the game however, Seattle is starting to pick up the tempo and appear to create more pressure on New York.  The same story repeats again, with Martins having extraordinary pace, but still left on his own deep in Red Bull territory.  There is not enough linkage between Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.

New York Red Bulls score the first goal of the match (36’), mostly due to Seattle’s sloppy defensive efforts against an 18-yard free kick by Wright-Phillips, who just kicks the ball as hard as he can.  The ball bounces off the wall and lands into in front of New York’s Midfielder Lloyd Sam, who then jumps and heads it into Seattle’s net. Seattle 0 – 1 New York.

Seattle’s Coach Sigi Schmid is pacing restless on the side lines.  Schmid, who is known for his strong discipline on and off the pitch, is probably unhappy with the lack of opportunities for his team, and more so the opportunity his team literally handed to New York.  Red Bulls Coach Jesse Marsch must be relieved but still concerned.  Although his team got its break and is now in the lead, New York’s form is not much better tonight.

The second half opens with a bit more effort from both teams but still not a much joy.  Both Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls are two MLS teams that have a lot of talent and quality.  However tonight these assets are not shown from either side.

The hosts do get their break though, with a great run by Obafemi Martins through the Red Bull territory, then sending a long ball to the Marco Pappa on the left.  Guatemalan Pappa gets closer, and shoots a beautiful goal from the far left (69’).  Although Peppa’s performance and movement were exceptional, this again is a goal that is handed to the scoring team due to defending mistakes.  Red Bulls Defender Chris Duval makes the crucial mistake of giving Marco Pappa a lot of space to manoeuvre around the box, and at some stage even turns his back to the ball.  You cannot do this with a player like Pappa and not get punished.  Seattle 1 – 1 New York.

At this stage the game has picked up pace from both teams, the game from the 70th minute seems to display a lot more long, open movement of the ball across the pitch.  Despite a lot of movement, not many chances are created still.  It is not the lack of effort by either side, but rather the inability to demonstrate the finishing quality.  In addition, a lot of petty fouls keep on slowing the match and disrupting the pace of both sides.

Marco Peppa’s skilful goal did give Seattle Sounders a get-out-of-jail card, but since that goal there have not been any significant situations or opportunities created.  Although Peppa is head and shoulders above his teammates tonight in terms of attack, it still does not appear to be enough to finish off a game in an impressive manner.

Up to stoppage time the game seems to be coming to a close with a 1-1 tie, but against all odds, on the 90th minute, Clint Dempsey kicks a long ball from centre field to Defender Tyrone Mears who was positioned outside of the box to the far right.  Mears then kicks a wide ball towards the goal, and Dempsey who in the meantime positions himself to the left runs and kicks the ball into the back of the net from the narrow left side of the box (90’).  Chad Barret who was in front of the goal brushed it with his boot on the way in and later claimed the goal, but this was all Dempsey’s work, and all credit goes to Clint Dempsey. Seattle 2 – 1 New York Red Bulls.

I guess that there are some nights in Major League Soccer, as in every other soccer league, where things just don’t go your way – even if you are one of the top teams in the MLS.