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Sounders vs. Columbus Crew, recap: Nouhou salvages tie

SB Nation logo SB Nation 3/8/2020 Jeremiah Oshan
a group of young men playing a game of football © Kayla Mehring / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE — It started off slow, ended in a flurry and along the way looked rather disjointed. The Seattle Sounders probably had the bulk of the chances, but the Columbus Crew managed to be plenty dangerous despite taking just five shots. All in all, a 1-1 tie was probably a fair result.

Key moments

33’ — Zardes got the Crew on the board first, finishing off a Luis Diaz cross at the back post. There seemed to be a bit of miscommunication on the backline as Yeimar Gómez Andrade looked to be a little late stepping up. 1-0 Crew.

52’ — Miguel Ibarra appeared to score the equalizer, chipping it over Eloy Room from inside the box, but was ruled offside on a very tight call.

79’ — Raúl Ruidíaz equalized on his second attempt at a penalty after Room saved the first attempt but was ruled off his line early by VAR. Room guessed the right direction again and appeared to get his hand on the ball, but couldn’t keep the shot out. Nouhou had won the penalty with some nice hustle to win the ball before sending it a cross that deflected off Harrison Afful’s arm.

89’ — The Crew got loose on a 3-on-1 break that looked destined to end with a goal but Kelvin Leerdam managed to clear away a pass from Youness Mukhtar that looked destined to result in a goal.

93’ — Morris found himself with a clean look at a header off a Harry Shipp cross but hit it wide. It also appeared as if the play was going to be flagged offside.

97’ — The Crew won a free kick from about 25 yards out. Lucas Zalarayan hit a wonderful free kick that looked like it had a chance to sneak inside the near post, but Frei came up with a huge save to end the match.

Big takeaways

  • Even by the standards of late-to-their-seat Sounders fans, this crowd took its time. Prior to players taking the field for the anthem, there were large swaths of empty seats and it looked very much like there would be a notably small crowd. But once the game kicked off, the crowd was mostly notable for how normal it all seemed. The announced crowd of 33,080 was the smallest since the Sounders’ inaugural season in MLS and may have been fluffed a bit, but also didn’t seem entirely out of the realm of possibility. Warnings aside, most Sounders fans used their tickets.
  • VAR is playing a big role early in the season. Coming off a week in which the Sounders had one goal disallowed through replay and were saved by the offside flag twice, VAR disallowed another Sounders goal and also granted Raúl Ruidíaz a reprieve after his first penalty was saved. Notably none of these calls have been wrong, but it’s hard not to feel bad for Ibarra after a nice finish.
  • The Sounders could really use Nicolás Lodeiro. Like they did a week ago, the Sounders created a fair number of decent scoring chances and probably should have scored at least one more. But there’s still a disconnectedness to how the Sounders are playing and it’s easy to imagine Lodeiro improving things.

The game in one gif

Morris made such a nice pass on Ibarra’s goal that it should have stood on principal.

Quote of the day

“The reality is what we do is a hobby for most people. We’re very fortunate to have it as a job. We understand that safety comes first.” - Gustav Svensson on playing in front of a smaller-than-normal crowd

One stat to tell the tale

33,080 — That more than 30,000 people showed up despite pretty serious warnings about COVID-19 throughout the week is almost remarkable.

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