Cristian Roldan opened the scoring, but a controversial penalty kick awarded in the 52nd minute led to the first of two David Villa goals and a 2-1 loss for the Sounders at Yankee Stadium.

Share story

Things were going well for the Sounders on Saturday until a controversial penalty kick call in the 52nd minute completely changed the game’s course.

Leading by a goal, the Sounders saw a hard-charging New York City FC striker David Villa streak into the box along the left side. Sounders right back Oniel Fisher made what appeared to be a clean challenge for the ball, using his left foot to knock it from harm’s way while Villa toppled over him.

Unfortunately for the Sounders, a penalty kick was called for the trip and Villa equalized moments later with his 50th career goal for New York. Then, in the final 15 minutes, with field conditions deteriorating on a wet day, Villa found himself alone on the left side and one-timed a cross past Sounders keeper Stefan Frei to the far post to hand the Sounders a 2-1 defeat in a game they’d appeared in control of for a good part.

The game, played on a modified small field at Yankee Stadium, began in a steady downpour that would impact play throughout — especially in the latter stages. The Sounders grabbed the lead in the 40th minute when Cristian Roldan continued his run across the middle, picked up a loose ball and fired a precision shot in to the far side of the net.

By the second half, the field was a soggy mess with players appearing to sink in ankle-deep puddles that slowed the ball to a stop on many a pass attempt. The conditions made it impossible for either side to find much offensive cohesion, the two teams preferring to play the ball forward and hope for an inadvertent bounce to go their way.

Former Barcelona star Villa had been sitting on goal No. 49 for weeks and the depleted Sounders back line — missing both Roman Torres and Brad Evans — did a fine job containing the dangerous New York star. The penalty called on Fisher’s play might have been overturned this coming August, when Major League Soccer goes to a video review system.

This time, however, the call stood and Seattle remains at just a lone road win on the season.