Nouhou finally scored. The long, long wait is now over. Unfortunately, the goal came in the back of his own net in the 69th minute of the Seattle Sounders' 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field.
Thankfully, Nouhou's mistake simply becomes a teachable moment and an afterthought as Jordan Morris and Yeimar Gomez Andrade reached the back of RSL's net, giving the first place Sounders their fifth win in the last six matches and seventh overall since the team returned from the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.
In the 28th minute, Cristian Roldan crossed a ball from his right wing position into the box, where forward Will Bruin dummied the ball to Morris, who tucked it away for the opening goal, his eighth of the year.
In the second half, just like he did in Sandy, Utah a month ago, Gomez Andrade headed in Seattle's second goal in the 61st minute on a free kick by Nicolas Lodeiro. Unlike that previous match at Real Salt Lake, though, Wednesday's goal remained as the game-winner as the visitors failed to equalize in the waning minutes.
To bolster the defense in the final moments, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer brought new acquisition Roman Torres onto the field as a third centerback, joining Gomez Andrade and Shane O'Neill on the back line. Torres recently finished a 10-day quarantine after Seattle traded a conditional first-round draft pick for the Panamanian defender nearly two weeks ago. Wednesday marked Torres' return to Rave Green for the first time since the club's victory in MLS Cup 2019.
Brad Smith and Alex Roldan also saw time on Wednesday, coming off the bench for Bruin and Kelvin Leerdam, respectively. With Raul Ruidiaz on International Duty with Peru, limiting the minutes on Bruin's legs is important with only two forwards currently available for Seattle and another match coming on Sunday in Los Angeles.
That next match, at LAFC, kicks off at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, including a 3:30 p.m. Pre-Match Show on Sports Radio 950 KJR. Los Angeles currently sit at fifth place in the conference with 21 points.
Seattle's victory recaptures a slight Western Conference cushion for the Rave Green, who once again sit three points over second place Portland, who beat the Galaxy 6-3 on Wednesday, and four points over third place Sporting Kansas City, who also picked up a win over Chicago. The Sounders will face the Timbers for a fourth time in 2020 on October 22 in Seattle.
As eight matches remain in the regular season, the Sounders have their sights squarely set on that top seed in the West. For the next four matches, however, the club will miss their star striker Ruidiaz (Peru), midfielder Gustav Svensson (Sweden) and defender Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador), as all three play with their respective countries in World Cup qualifying matches then serve a 10-day quarantine upon returning to Pacific Northwest later in the month. In their place on Wednesday, Schmetzer started Bruin, O'Neill and Jordy Delem, each of whom have extensive starting experience and success in MLS.
And while none of the three scored or assisted on Seattle's two goals against Real Salt Lake, all played key roles in the win and must continue with those roles in the coming month. Watch highlights from the 2-1 victory below, plus check out KJR's Postgame Show with Danny Jackson and Jackson Felts.