For too long, it seemed, the Sounders FC fit a popular meme Wednesday: Show me you can score goals without scoring goals.
Seattle applied enough offensive pressure against FC Dallas to pop a balloon but found it difficult to pierce the goal line for a majority of the game at Lumen Field. With his substitution waiting on the sideline, Sounders forward Fredy Montero gave it two more tries.
The first missed to the right.
The second — a free kick service from Joao Paulo — was headed in by Montero to the left corner in the 72nd minute. The club’s all-time scoring leader zigzagged to the end line to celebrate with teammates, forward Will Bruin clapping on the sideline.
Bruin replaced Montero, the Sounders showing they can indeed score. But the multiple substitutions, including the return of captain Nico Lodeiro in the 87th minute, didn’t hold onto the lead. Dallas scored on a rebound in second-half stoppage time to depart with a 1-1 draw against the Sounders.
“It’s about regaining our confidence toward the goal,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “It’s part of soccer. Soccer is a tough sport and we have to keep trying and keep trying to regain that confidence in front of goal and be able to start getting wins.”
Dallas forward Franco Jara used a left-footed shot from inside the keeper’s box to level the match.
Seattle sent shots from seven different players in the opening half, including from distance from defender Shane O’Neill. The club had 16 crosses compared to Dallas’ four. The Sounders outshot the visitors 11-2 in the opening 45 minutes and had Dallas stuck in Seattle’s half of the field.
But no goal.
“If we scored a goal in the first 10 minutes of the game when we were creating those chances, that would’ve opened up the confidence Cristian was talking about,” Montero said. “You have these moments in every season. It’s about less talking and more action. I know (my teammates) are hurt and I know (they’re) not happy with this result. We’re going to move forward with more energy than this game.”
A draw isn’t what the partisan crowd of 31,628 wanted, yet it did stop the losing skid the Sounders experienced the past two home matches. The Sounders haven’t lost three consecutive home games since 2016.
“When was the last time we scored two goals?” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said of a different streak mounting. The club hasn’t scored multiple goals in a match since a 2-0 win on July 7 against Houston at Lumen Field.
Wednesday’s match marked the start of the second-half of the MLS season. The Sounders have another tough stretch when they host a Leagues Cup match Tuesday and then depart for a three-game, seven-day road trip beginning with a Cascadia derby against Portland on Aug. 15.
“We have to move on,” Roldan said.
The Sounders fielded a 20-player roster for the first time this season due to injuries.
Lodeiro hasn’t played since May due to a knee injury that he entered the season managing. Lodeiro played 24 minutes off the bench in a 3-0 win against the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 2. He underwent arthroscopic surgery later that month to relieve inflammation in the knee.
Roldan, who was appointed captain in place of Lodeiro, returned to the starting lineup for the first time since July 4. Roldan was called up by the U.S. men’s national team and helped the country win the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final on Sunday in Las Vegas.
The Sounders (9-3-6) are tied with Sporting Kansas City with 33 points to lead the MLS Western Conference standings. But SKC defeated the Sounders 3-1 at Lumen Field in July.
“There were plenty of positives for the game, but it feels like a loss,” Schmetzer said.
MLS unveiled its 28-man All-Star roster Wednesday and six Sounders players received a nod. Forward Raul Ruidiaz; midfielders Cristian Roldan, Alex Roldan, and Joao Paulo; and defenders Yeimar Gomez Andrade and Nouhou are all first-time stars.
The Roldans are also the first brothers to be named to a MLS All-Star game together, according to the Sounders.
Seattle’s six-pack are the second-most to represent a club in a single All-Star game. D.C. United had eight players named in 2006 while the San Jose Earthquakes (2006) and FC Dallas (2005) each had six honorees at one time. The Sounders’ previous high was five in 2014.
The match against Liga MX stars is set for Aug. 25 at Los Angeles FC’s Banc of California Stadium. It will be broadcast live at 6 p.m. PT on FS1, Univision, TSN and TVA Sports.
Schmetzer teased earlier this season that he wanted people to select other players because of his depleted roster due to injuries and call-ups. The timing of the All-Star game also isn’t ideal. Seattle has a three-match road trip headed into the festivities and hosts the Portland Timbers at Lumen Field on Aug. 29.
But the six Seattle players were among the 13 selected by the combined vote of fans, media and players. LAFC coach Bob Bradley, who’ll coach the MLS stars, picked 13 players. The final batch of players were appointed by commissioner Don Garber and league players.