The waiting game is over.
Seattle Sounders FC defender Nouhou Tolo, who borders between cult-hero status and a beloved player with an at-times-eccentric playing style, scored his first-ever career goal to spark Sunday’s 2-1 comeback victory over Houston Dynamo FC.
The Lumen Field crowd and Sounders faithful, waiting nearly 9,000 regular-season minutes and nearly 150 appearances (when factoring in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs) since the Cameroon international joined the team in 2017, became euphoric upon witnessing the long-anticipated moment.
“The crowd has been waiting for some time for Nouhou to score a goal, so when it happened the place was pretty nuts,” head coach Brian Schmetzer said postgame. “I'm sure the Twitter-verse and everything is going crazy as well.”
Here’s a quick sampling, to drive home Schmetzer’s perceptive remarks:
A left-footed defender, Nouhou's 59th-minute equalizer came with his right foot near the penalty area. He then set up Fredy Montero’s go-ahead tally in the 76th minute, capping a man-of-the-match performance from the 25-year-old as he eyes a Qatar 2022 World Cup roster spot with his home country.
The only missing part? A celebration that Nouhou seems ready to unleash.
“It was not a time to celebrate because it was 1-1,” he said postgame. “So that’s why I said, ‘No we need to win.’ The final goal I’ll be sure to give a celebration. Maybe next game, if I score, I’m going to give a celebration.”
The result also kept Seattle’s playoff hopes above water, though they’re six points back of arch-rival Portland Timbers with five games to go. The Rave Green have made 13 straight playoff trips since joining MLS as an expansion club in 2009, but are in real danger of missing out after winning a historic Concacaf Champions League title in May.
For the time being, boosted by Nouhou’s long-awaited moment, Seattle have reason to celebrate.
“I was nervous, but I’m very happy I finally scored,” the defender said. “So hopefully I’m going to score more goals for the club.”