Sounders beat Minnesota 3-1 for 1st win of season
SEATTLE — Will Bruin doesn’t care how the goals come. All that matters to him and the Seattle Sounders is that they’re finally coming. And now, so has a long-awaited victory.
Gustav Svensson and Bruin scored in a three-minute span midway through the first half and the Sounders won for the first time this season, beating Minnesota United 3-1 on Sunday.
Jordy Delem added a goal in second-half stoppage time for Seattle.
The Sounders (1-3-1), MLS Cup winners in 2016 and runners-up last year, had been the only MLS team without a victory through the first seven weeks. After going scoreless for a club-record 315 minutes to start the year, Seattle has five goals in its last two games.
Bruin has two of those, the first of which came in last Sunday’s 2-2 tie at Sporting Kansas City.
“When we keep 11 people on the field, we know we’re going to score,” Bruin said in reference to Seattle having a man red-carded in each of the first three games — all shutout losses. “It doesn’t matter how you score — if you score, it’s always a good thing. It shows a little bit of my confidence, and whenever I’m playing with confidence, that’s a good thing.”
Svensson scored at the outset of the 23rd minute. Cristian Roldan had the ball in the left side of the penalty area and passed it back out toward the center of the field. Svensson ran onto it, blasting it into the back left corner from 27 yards straight in front for his first goal of the year.
Late in the 25th minute, Bruin notched his second of the season. Roldan had the ball near the goal line on the left side. He sent it into the box, and Nico Lodeiro flicked it back to Bruin for a shot from 8 yards in front.
“You saw the energy and enthusiasm for the game that this group put in,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said of his team’s opening burst. “The whole team in that first 30 minutes — that was a good 30 minutes.”
But Minnesota (2-5-0) put the pressure on after halftime. Miguel Ibarra in the 56th minute and Christian Ramirez in the 64th were both denied by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Finally in the 66th minute, Ramirez scored, heading in a high target ball from Darwin Quintero.
But United was not able to get the equalizer, and lost its fourth straight. Delem, who came on in second-half stoppage time, sealed it for the Sounders when he took a long pass from Clint Dempsey on a breakaway and scored on what essentially was the final play of the game.
“The problem is that we started so slowly again. I’m honestly at a loss to explain that,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said. “It’s the third or fourth time on the road that it’s happened. I feel like a broken record. We can’t give teams a two- or three-goal start and expect to win the game.”
Schmetzer was happy to take all three points, although he was less than pleased with how the Sounders finished.
“I challenged them at halftime and said championship teams are able to finish games out and close games out and get that third goal so the game becomes a little easier,” he said. “After the game, my opinion changed a little bit and I said, ‘Well, championship teams actually win ugly sometimes.”
Dempsey, who subbed on in the 60th minute, saw his first action since March 18 at Dallas when he was sent off with a straight red card in the 37th minute for violent conduct. Along with the automatic one-game suspension, the league tacked on an additional game, keeping him out of action last Sunday at Kansas City.