The Seattle Sounders snuck by Minnesota United FC with a 1-0 win at Lumen Field Saturday afternoon, extending their lead atop the Western Conference.

A 22nd-minute strike from Seattle midfielder Joao Paulo was all that slipped by Minnesota goalkeeper Tyler Miller, who made four saves for the Loons in a strong performance. The Brazilian's strike was his second goal of the season and it snapped the Sounders' four-game winless streak at home. He was fed the ball atop the box by Nicolas Benezet, firing first-time into the bottom left corner.

Despite promising sequences going forward, Minnesota struggled to complete much without their leading goalscorer Robin Lod and leading assister Emanuel Reynoso, who were both ruled out due to injury. Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei returned between the sticks for the home side, however, making his first appearance since May 12 after a lengthy injury spell of his own.

Seattle failed to find an insurance goal over the final 45 minutes, but it was a near-complete performance from the Western Conference leaders in allowing minimal chances for the Loons. Minnesota's best chance came when they nearly found an equalizer in the 60th minute. Striker Adrien Hunou fired from the edge of the box, but the Frenchman's shot went inches over the crossbar and into the stands.

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Goals

  • 22' - SEA - Joao Paulo | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: The Sounders maintained their spot atop the Western Conference with an important three points at home. Pending results on the evening, the Loons could fall to 7th in the West but are guaranteed to stay above the playoff line. That may not be the case as the week goes by, however, with Minnesota facing off against two more of the top-five teams in the West over the next seven days.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Joao Paulo’s 22nd-minute strike for the lone goal, which secured all three points for the Sounders.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Tyler Miller. The Loons goalkeeper kept his team in the game with some stunning saves, including this 12th-minute double stop to set the tone early. Joao Paulo was a good second candidate, but without Miller the floodgates could have opened.

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