It wasn't entirely convincing, but the Seattle Sounders finally banked their first MLS victory of the 2018 campaign on Sunday, narrowly holding off a spirited late rally from Minnesota United to defeat the Loons 3-1 at CenturyLink Field.
Gustav Svensson's viciously-struck blast from 20 yards out gave the home side a fully-deserved early lead and Will Bruin's calm finish minutes later looked to have the Rave Green cruising to a comfortable win. But Christian Ramirez came off the bench to inspire a late rally from Minnesota, scoring a close-range header and leaving the CenturyLink faithful fretting right up until the final whistle.
Loons captain Francisco Calvo had a golden opportunity to snatch a late equalizer that he fired wide of the target, allowing Sounders substitute Clint Dempsey to belatedly clinch all three points with a feed to Jordy Delem deep into injury time.
- 23' – SEA – Gustav Svensson | WATCH
- 25' – SEA – Will Bruin | WATCH
- 66' – MIN – Christian Ramirez | WATCH
- 90+4'' – SEA – Jordy Delem | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Their jittery conclusion to this game suggested that the Sounders still remain a shadow of their best selves, but they'll take an end to their winless start any way they can get it ... and Ozzie Alonso and Clint Dempsey are back.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It would've been rough justice on Seattle had Calvo netted his late chance, but that's exactly the kind of play that struggling teams need their stars to make. His miss let the Rave Green off the hook.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Svensson will be the choice of many, with reason. We'll award it to Cristian Roldan, however, thanks to his two assists and continued all-around central midfield virtuosity alongside the big Swede.