The Seattle Sounders improved to 7-1-4 on Wednesday, and solidified their spot at second place in the Western Conference, with a 2-1 victory over Orlando City SC at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle saw goals from striker Raul Ruidiaz, who scored his fourth of the year and first since March 16 in a 4-2 win in Chicago, in the 19th minute, then Handwalla Bwana in the 68th minute with his first goal of the year and only the third of the young midfielder's career. VAR reviewed Bwana's goal for nearly four minutes, but ultimately officials ruled no foul had been committed earlier in the play and upheld the score.
"You can see that Bwana has that flair, he’s got good technical ability," Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said. "The kid had deserved minutes."
Orlando City cut the Sounders' lead in half with a Chris Mueller goal, his third of the year, in the 75th minute, yet failed to ever equalize despite multiple chances and promising attacks in the final 15 minutes, plus eight of added time.
Injuries continue to play a role for Seattle as Roman Torres started for Chad Marshall (knee inflammation), Harry Shipp started for Victor Rodriguez (hamstring strain) and Jordy Delem started for Gustav Svensson (hamstring strain). Then seconds into the second half, Jordan Morris fell to the ground with what Schmetzer later called (another) hamstring strain.
Morris barely missed a header-goal late in the first half and had been playing excellently for the last two matches, especially on the defensive side of the ball. And MRI will come soon to determine the severity of Morris' injury.
With injuries and squad rotation to manage, the club now makes their way to Philadelphia for a match against the Union on Saturday, May 18 at 4:30 p.m. Sports Radio 950 KJR's Pre-Match Show will begin at 4:00. Philadelphia currently sits at first place in the Eastern Conference (7-3-2, 23 points) and are coming off a 2-1 win in Toronto with no mid-week match.
“It’s good that we won tonight because then our confidence is really high heading into Philadelphia," Bwana said. "It’s going to be difficult because we have four away games and hopefully can come away with some results.”
The Sounders will not return home again until June 29 against the Vancouver Whitecaps, where they will look to extend an 11-match home unbeaten streak (9-0-2), dating back to September 29, 2018 when the club lost to Philadelphia. The team record for most consecutive unbeaten games at home is 14, set between March and September of 2013.
Check out highlights from Seattle's 2-1 win over Orlando below as well as KJR's Postgame Show plus interviews from Ruidiaz and Wednesday's Man of the Match, Brad Smith.