The Mercedes-Benz Stadium is never an easy place to visit and when Seattle Sounders FC went down to ten men in the second half, their visit became even harder. Atlanta United FC threw the kitchen sink at the Sounders but Stefan Frei was there to make sure the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Sounders leave Atlanta with some much needed points considering how their season in Major League Soccer has gone while Atlanta will rue their missed chances today.
Seattle take the lead into half-time
The match started off a little slow but Josef Martínez almost capitalized on a horrible error by the Seattle backline to give Atlanta a surprising lead. Nouhou Tolo gave the ball away in his own half in the 21st minute and Martínez pounced on the mistake before firing a low effort that flashed just wide of the goal. Nine minutes later, Stefan Frei made his first big save of the match. Miguel Almirón sent in a corner that came off of Will Bruin and had Frei not reacted quickly low to his right, Bruin would have scored an own goal.
The Sounders then had their big chance go begging in the 35th minute when Bruin wriggled free after an Atlanta throw-in deep in their own half but his shot was saved by Brad Guzan who stuck out his leg to divert the effort off target. Seattle continued to press forward and got the goal they were looking for late in the first half. VAR showed that Franco Escobar had stopped Harry Shipp's effort with his arm and Nicolás Lodeiro managed to squeeze the ball past Guzan from the penalty spot.
Martínez brings Atlanta level but Frei stands strong to keep the draw
Atlanta did not waste any time after the break to push forward and got the equalizer in the 48th minute when Julian Gressel picked out Martínez between two defenders. The Atlanta forward then looped his header over Frei, who had come off his line and Atlanta were back in the game.
Things started to go off the rails for Seattle after that and Jordan McCrary then received his marching orders after a second yellow card. The Sounders right back had taken out Martínez with a silly foul and referee Baldomero Toledo sent him to the locker room early. Not long after McCrary had been sent off, Frei had to be the hero for Seattle again as he stopped Chris McCann shot at point blank range. Leandro González Pírez should have put Atlanta ahead during the same set piece but he thundered his header off of the crossbar which then led to McCann's chance.
Kelvin Leerdam could have given Seattle a shock lead in the 77th minute but his thunderbolt from a long way out was parried away excellently by Brad Guzan. In the end, Frei's heroics and Atlanta's inability to convert meant that the match ended in a one-one draw when it honestly could have been more.