Coming home from a three week road trip, the Seattle Sounders looked to keep building momentum after a 3-0 dominating victory in Los Angeles last week. New England, sitting at eighth place in the Eastern Conference, traveled to Seattle without a win in their last three matches.
Sometimes sports results follow with the direction of momentum. Sometimes, they go in the complete opposite direction. That summed up the first 75 minutes of the match, then everything changed.
Before the comeback, the Sounders gave up three without being able to buy a goal for themselves.
In a case of, "sometimes it's better to be lucky than good", the Revolution struck the scoreboard first as a long-distance shot by Daigo Kobayashi found its way between the gloves of Stefan Frei, who sat on a knee waiting patiently for the ball to reach the goal line.
"At halftime I came in and said 'I f***ed up. Who wants to bail me out?' And we did as a whole unit. I'm thankful for that," Frei said.
New England's second goal, assisted on a pinpoint cross by Federal Way's Kelyn Rowe, reached the net with a header by Juan Agudelo.
Luck still failed to turn in the Sounders favor early in the second half, shown by a 48th minute volley shot by Ozzie Alonso that bounced off the crossbar.
Minutes later, Diego Fagundez found Agudelo for the Revolution's third and final goal.
Twenty minutes later, the tides turned as the rainy Seattle skies began to clear. It started with a redirected Nicolas Lodeiro shot that found the back of the net, continued with Will Bruin rushing to the near post and heading in the Sounders' second goal, and the comeback concluded with (who else?) the Captain. Watch all three goals below.
Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer talked after the match, which you can hear below.
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei, on the first goal scored by New England: "No I didn’t take my eye off it. It moved and I tried to stay with it but I gifted them a goal. As we know goals are vital in soccer there’re even when they are against the flow of play. We were starting to really get into a groove and dominate possession and I gift them a goal. Obviously it’s difficult, it throws our rhythm out. Error on my part, simple as that.”
Frei on the mental strength after giving up that goal: "It’s important for us as a team to keep on staying in it and believing and fighting. For me personally it was important for me to forget that one right away and make some saves in that first half. It’s difficult when you go down 3-0 beginning of second half. We never want to give up three goals at home. We can’t. It’s not that we don’t want to it’s that we can’t. The character we showed to get back is amazing. That’s the one positive take from this, the spirit. Togetherness to try to bail your teammates out to try to save them. [We stepped up] as a whole unit. Every point counts."
Forward Will Bruin on the feelings of the match: "It’s definitely a good feeling coming back and getting a point, but at the end of the day we are back at home where you can’t be giving up three goals and being down three-nothing at home and that’s collective eleven as a unit being tough to play against and not just focus on the attack. We need to be a strong block. If we can shore that up we know we can get the goals."
Bruin on the success of Sounders crosses into the box: "We had a lot of guys inside the 18 you know vertical up the field – that was the kind of way that they defended, so we knew that the open areas wre wide. And there was times where you gotta force it and times you gotta be patient, swing it around get them to move, so I think we did a good job of that finding that balance. We can’t be susceptible to the counter."
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso on the result and comeback: “I think it’s tough when you come out and get a point. For me, we have to play better defense and not allow three goals at home. Not play like we did… We showed a lot of courage to come back and tie the game.”
Alonso on the crowd eruption after the third goal: “I think today, 3-0, no one believed we were going to tie the game. But we fought till the end and I scored the goal that gave us the point but now we have to learn what happened today and focus on the next one.”
Alonso on if anything was said to Frei at halftime: “We don’t have to say anything to him. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the league… For me I’m very, very happy to have Stefan with us.”
New England Head Coach Jay Heaps on the draw: “We’re gutted in there, in the sense that we had it in our hand. It’s one of those [games] where we let two points slip away. That said, I think it’s a good road game. It’s tough to come here and get three goals, so I think we can focus on the positive but we have to correct the negative. This is one of those where I think we’re going to spend a lot of time reviewing it, and it’s not going to be one of those we can just forget because there were so many little things we noticed during the game. If we could have called a 20-second timeout I felt like we could have corrected it and made the plays. I just wish we could have been able to do it in the course of the match.”