If there was ever a game that managed to encapsulate the Sounders' 2022 league campaign, it might be Friday night's clash with the LA Galaxy. It offered hope and despair, joy and frustration, excitement and heartbreak.
On a very basic level, Seattle will be relieved their four-game road losing streak ended, versus a strong but not imposing opponent. For some reason, the Rave Green always do well versus the Galaxy -- especially in recent seasons -- no matter their respective positions in the league standings.
However, this is a game which has a lingering 'what if' feeling about it, together with continued concern among fans.
While the Sounders moved back into a playoff position after the game, other results over the weekend subsequently pushed them back out.
The Seattle Sounders ended a four-game losing streak on the road, but in reality should have left Los Angeles with a win, after a controversial decision to award the Galaxy a penalty in second half added time.
Next up, Seattle will travel to Portland to face their main rivals. First things first though, here are four takeaways from the 3-3 draw with the Galaxy:
1) A different setup
Head coach Brian Schmetzer is a man renowned for never being afraid to chance his starting lineup, formation or strategy. This applies, whether to contend with a specific opponent or to energize his own team.
In this respect, Schmetzer was at it again on Friday night, as he decided to go with a 5-3-2 formation. There was also the omission of a key individual, albeit it was a late and necessary decision.
As Schmetzer explained after the game, Cristian Roldan was a late scratch, as a result of athletic pubalgia which has been bothering him. The injury proved too painful for him to play, but it isn't expected to be a long-term issue.
Due to Roldan's absence, this placed more pressure of Daniel Leyva in a central midfield role. At the age of 19 and only starting his fifth league game this season, it speaks volumes about how much the organization trusts him.
In any event, it's fair to say the Sounders struggled to adapt to their changed formation early on. Javier Hernandez gave the Galaxy a lead on 10 minutes, doing well to control a pass into the box before calming slotting the ball home to the left of Stefan Frei.
Jordan Morris appeared to have equalized in the 16th minute, after an excellent header home from a Nicolas Lodeiro cross out on the left wing. It was ruled offside however, although by the tightest of margins.
Los Angeles would eventually double their advantage just three minutes before half time, courtesy of Victor Vazquez from outside the box. Whether it was meant as a cross or a shot is open to debate, but it was still a visual spectacle which caught Frei wrong-footed.