On Sunday, New York City FC visited the Seattle Sounders for a clash at CenturyLink Field. NYCFC went into the match without both their All-Stars, David Villa and Alex Ring, while also having to go the 90 without Yangel Herrera. However, the absence of Ring and Herrera made it possible for Kwame Awauh to make his first MLS start for the Boys in Blue as Domènec Torrent continues to try to develop young players like Awuah and Jonathan Lewis.
Seattle, on the other hand, were without Víctor Rodríguez but were fortunate enough to see Raúl Ruidíaz's first home start at CenturyLink Field. NYCFC were looking to extend their win streak to five while the Sounders were hoping their unbeaten streak would move to six.
In a game that was always going to be a battle of "who can do more" between Maxi Moralez and Nicolas Lodeiro, it was the former who had the better of the opening half hour which resulted in NYCFC having the better of the chances. In the 22nd minute, Moralez's free-kick effort hit the crossbar and was the nearest either side had come to coring up until that point.
Seattle's first opportunity came in the 28th minute when Harry Shipp's cross from a wide area force Sean Johnson to parry the ball away. The ball then fell to Cristian Roldan who lost possession thanks to a Kwame Awuah challenge. That was Seattle's best chance before the hydration break at the half hour mark.
For a second straight season, it was Cristian Roldan who gave Seattle the lead over NYCFC in the first half. However, on this occasion, David Villa wasn't available to score a brace to reduce his team. Roldan continued his run into the box and the ball eventually fell to him before he put it past Sean Johnson to end NYCFC's run of not conceding for 433 straight minutes.
NYCFC nearly equalized in the 40th minute when Maxi Moralez led an attack. The Argentinian released Ronald Matarrita into the box who lopped a ball to Jesús Medina's foot who should have done better but just rolled the ball to Stefan Frei.
Five minutes into the second half, Mataritta cross found Medina once again but the Paraguayan's header flashed over the bar and the score remained in the host's favor. Just moments later Seattle punished NYCFC for not finishing their chances and doubled their lead through a Gustav Svennson strike. A strong strike but definitely something Johnson would like another chance at saving. Lodeiro laid the ball off the Swede whose low strike drove through multiple legs and found the back of the net.
NYCFC chopped the lead in half in the 68th minute when recently introduced Jonathan Lewis won the ball high up the pitch and worked the ball wide to Jo Inge Berget whose low cross was slotted home by Jesús Medina.
Harry Shipp put the game to bed in the 86th minute when lethargic defending from the visitors led to a shot from Shipp which flew into the goal. Just like that, NYCFC's win streak ended and the Sounders' unbeaten streak moved to six.
For Seattle, they'll return from the All-Star Game spirit to take on Minnesota United away from home. Then, they'll return home to take on current Western Conference table toppers, FC Dallas, before welcoming Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy to CenturyLink for the first and only time this season.
For Sunday's visitors, they'll be hearing two national anthems over the next couple weeks as they return home to face the Vancouver Whitecaps following their meeting with Seattle. Then, they'll find themselves north of the border to take on a Toronto FC side who seem to be finding their old swagger.