The Seattle Sounders record-breaking unbeaten streak finally came to an end Sunday in the Twin Cities.
On a 93-degree day in front of 20,000 impassioned spectators, Minnesota FC battled the Sounders hard for 81 minutes until Niko Hansen’s cross deflected off a Seattle defender right on to the foot of Robin Lod, who deposited the ball into the net near the far post to end the Sounders 13-game unbeaten streak to start the season, the longest in Major League Soccer history.
Coach Brian Schmetzer noted Minnesota had “four reasons” to have revenge on their mind on the sweltering pitch, referring to Seattle’s 4-0 drubbing of Minnesota earlier in the year at Lumen Field in Seattle. With so many regular starters missing from the lineup due to injury or international duty, it always seemed a question of when, rather than if, Seattle’s magic would run out.
“Maybe there’s an undefeated season somewhere in someone’s imagination,” Schmetzer said, “but we knew the game was going to be hard, and we were going to take a loss at some point.”
It looked like the Sounders might have stolen the match in the 71st minute as they lined up for João Paulo’s free kick. The ball found the head of Xavier Arreaga, but he was about half a step offside on the attempt, and the goal was disallowed.
Nine minutes later, a defensive breakdown allowed Lod to run to the far post uncontested, and Hansen was able to slip him a pass for the goal that ended Seattle’s streak.
The Sounders are missing many of their top players, including Nicolas Lodeiro, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris, Stefan Frei and Will Bruin, to either injury or international duty, but still went toe-to-toe with Minnesota for much of the match in harsh conditions.
Seattle has had to have a number of young players step into the lineup, and two more were added to the squad before the game. Samuel Adeniran and Obed Vargas both signed short-term agreements and were loaned from Tacoma Defiance. Adeniran ended up making his MLS debut late in the match.
“I’m so proud of the way the players have adjusted, fought [through] adversity,” Schmetzer said. “It’s a sign that the standard at this club is very, very high.”
There’s still plenty of good news for the Sounders. They still have the best overall record in MLS and remain in first place in the Western Conference, three points ahead of Sporting Kansas City, which will travel to Seattle for a match July 25. Seattle still has a plus-14 goal differential and their record stands at eight wins, five draws and one loss.