Seven years ago, nearly to the day, the Seattle Sounders fell behind 1-0 in the 20th minute to Sporting Kansas City. The men in Rave Green stormed back late in the second half, with goals from Mauro Rosales in the 90th and Lamar Neagle in the 92nd, and won 2-1 on the road. August 6, 2011 stood out as the greatest late-game comeback win in club history.
Unlike that match in 2011, Seattle dominated Minnesota on Saturday, outside of Darwin Quintero's tenth goal of the year in the 19th minute. 22 total shots to the Loons' 12. 63.3% possession. 84% passing accuracy to Minnesota's 72. 11 corners to 4. Nearly every statistical category fell Seattle's way. And yet, for the first 90 minutes, the Sounders couldn't find a goal.
After seemingly endless attacks, crosses, and shots throughout both halves, the match started to feel cosmically out of the hands for Seattle. Maybe something in the Minnesotan summer-night air.
Then, a ray of light through the darkness. An 89th minute Roman Torres header glanced off Miguel Ibarra's arm in the box. After a miraculous save by Stefan Frei on the other end of the field, referee Drew Fischer used VAR to award a penalty kick to Seattle. Nicolas Lodeiro connected with the back of the net seconds later to equalize the match at one.
With six minutes of added time, plus two more due to the use of VAR and the penalty, both teams played aggressively for a game-winning goal. Minnesota threw attackers forward with crosses and Seattle earned two corner kicks.
Then in the 97th minute, lightning struck for the Sounders. A long ball from Kelvin Leerdam reached the head of Raul Ruidiaz, who flicked it up-field to a running Will Bruin. The Seattle forward then found himself one-on-one with Minnesota's keeper, Bobby Shuttleworth, who went low to block a potential rolling-shot.
Instead, Bruin chipped the ball over Shuttleworth, and what lasted less than a second felt like an entire minute. The ball hit its peak, gently fell back down to Earth, collided with the ground over the line, and after a single bounce, hit the back of the net.
Pandemonium ensued. Brian Schmetzer hugged his coaches, Bruin fell to the ground in celebration, and fans across the Emerald City lost their collective mind. The comeback win over Sporting Kansas City in 2011 was special, but this match may have eclipsed it.
That 2011 team won the U.S. Open Cup, finished second in the Supporters Shield standings with 63 points, made the Western Conference Semifinals and CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals, plus won Cascadia Cup. The Rave Green known for second-half season comebacks had not arrived on the scene yet. The 2011 Sounders dominated throughout.
This 2018 squad, however, continues a massive seven-match unbeaten streak, dating back to July 4 in Colorado. Not long ago, the club sat next to last in the Western Conference with injuries all around, players at the World Cup, and fans' little hope for a turnaround.
After a 4-0-2 July and fourth consecutive win on Saturday, the Sounders now sit in eighth place in the standings and five points from the red line, with a game in hand over sixth place Real Salt Lake. Oh, how times have changed.
With the team getting healthier, more reinforcements reportedly coming this week before the MLS Summer Transfer Window closes, and first place FC Dallas coming to town next Sunday, a moment has arrived for the 2018 Seattle Sounders to stand up and show MLS that they can compete, and beat, any team in league.
So, is Saturday's added-time comeback better than 2011? Only time will tell with stories shared by supporters of the club down the road. If Seattle continues their current unbeaten run, makes the playoffs, and advances to a third consecutive MLS Cup, perhaps. Perhaps it is already.
The 2011 and 2018 squads share few similarities, but both hold the same goal: Bring home the hardware.
The season continues next Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. against FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field. Listen to the match live on Sports Radio 950 KJR and stream it on the iHeart Radio App. The Elysian Brewing Pre-Match Show begins at 6:30 p.m., broadcasting live from Elysian Fields across from the stadium.
Enjoy match highlights from the Sounders' 2-1 comeback win in Minnesota below as well as Brian Schmetzer's post-match press conference and KJR's Postgame Show featuring Jackson Felts and former Sounders defender James Riley reacting to and breaking down the victory.