Robin Lod's game-winner nine minutes from time ended the Sounders' record 13-game unbeaten start to the season after Brian Schmetzer's side came in to the match 8-0-5 and atop the MLS Supporter's Shield race. It was also Minnesota's first win over the Sounders through seven previous attempts.
Heading into the match, the Loons were 0-5-2 with a -8 goal-differential against Seattle. Two of those defeats had bene particularly traumatic — surrendering a 2-0 lead to succumb to a dramatic defeat in last year's Western Conference final and then in the first game of 2021 losing 4-0 on national TV to start a 0-4 start to the year.
"I'm pleased for the players, pleased for the supporters, who, by the way, I thought were magnificent today — might have been as good of an atmosphere as we've had in the stadium, and it got us through in the end, so hats off to them," Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath said. "Everybody knows the amount of respect i have for Schemtz and his coaching staff. "Overall it's a nice win and it sets us up nicely for next week."
The win kept the momentum for the Loons going, who have now lost just once in their last nine matches since that 0-4 start. With their win on Sunday, they moved up to sixth in the West and above the playoff line
The Sounders came into the match not being able to field a complete matchday squad due to injuries and other absences, supplying only 18 out of a possible 20 players in St. Paul, whereas the Loons were near full-strength minus two defensive absences.
Still, Heath is as aware as anyone of how difficult it is to defeat the Sounders, regardless of the circumstances.
"I said to you yesterday, I’ve got so much respect for Schmetz and their organization," Heath added. "When I arrived here, maybe 13 years ago now, I went round a lot of MLS clubs and not many were as cordial as the Sounders were. They let me stay there for a few days trying to learn about soccer in America and they couldn’t have been better so I’ve got a lot of respect for them."
There was another reason why this win meant just a little bit more for Heath. It was the Englishman's 50th regular season win as Minnesota United head coach and, as he exited the press conference, he chuckled that he wished it would have happened sooner but he's happy to hit the milestone.
Lod was thrilled to find the winner and finally get the elusive victory over the Sounders.
"As you said, we had some tough losses against them, but it's always nice to beat them, to beat them today."