SEATTLE — A well-designed set piece ended an unwanted streak for the Sounders FC.
Roldan brothers Alex and Cristian batted the ball between each other outside the box as teammates moved in position against the LA Galaxy defense. With options lined up in the box, Alex lobbed the ball to a leaping Xavier Arreaga, the defender connecting to send a header past keeper Jonathan Bond.
The shot in the 72nd minute delivered a 3-2 Seattle win Saturday before an announced crowd of 33,200 at Lumen Field. It’s the first Sounders victory in MLS play since October 2021 — a span of nine matches, including losing in the opening round of the playoffs via penalty kicks to Real Salt Lake.
“It’s just a reminder to the whole team that we’re good enough to win the games at home no matter what,” Sounders forward Fredy Montero said.
Seattle lost its league home-opener 1-0 to a defensive minded Nashville SC and then lost 1-0 to RSL on the road. The Rave Green bounced back with a 3-0 win against Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday, but as the potent offense stalled in MLS competitions, it seemed the Sounders defense would bear more critique for not being perfect.
The backline had another slip-up that resulted in Galaxy midfielder Douglas Costa scoring an equalizer off a free kick in the 48th minute. Chicharito sent in the shot that deflected off Seattle’s wall to Costa for a 2-2 score.
Overall, the Galaxy pressured the home side by possessing the ball 63.7% of the game and outshooting the Sounders 14-8.
“Infuriating is the emotion at the end of it,” LA coach Greg Vanney said. “They didn’t have any attacking solutions expect to play off long balls or set pieces. We had good control of the game as it relates to the ball. Good control of the game as it relates to chances in the run of play. …We beat ourselves and that’s frustrating.”
Montero gave his team a 2-1 lead headed into halftime.
The Colombian was humbler when asked about being the club’s all-time scoring leader this past week.
“I’m one player on this team and I try to do the best when I’m on the field,” Montero said. “Anything that happens around that, it’s just extra and it’s just stats. It’s good to have but not to think about too much.”
But Montero showed how much the goals mean to him in first-half stoppage time Saturday. Montero suffered a foul in the box that resulted in a penalty kick. Teammate Albert Rusnak, who was signed in January, wanted to take the penalty kick.
Montero, a club original, didn’t acquiesce. A tense exchange over the ball had to be broken up by teammates Joao Paulo and Yeimar Gomez Andrade.
Moments later, Montero did what he’s been doing for the Rave Green since 2009 — scoring goals. He nailed the 71st, getting Bond to commit in the wrong direction.
“(Albert) wanted to kick the PK,” Montero said. Because of the number of veterans on the squad, the duty isn’t pre-assigned. “I had the confidence to kick this one, especially when the game is 1-1. That’s it. It stays there. We’re professionals. I love Albert, he’s a great guy and I believe he’s going to have many chances to score.”
Sounders forward Jordan Morris revived the Lumen Field crowd with his score at the goal line in the 17th minute. He was backside as he fluttered his feet in battling Bond for the ball.
Chicharito opened scoring with a textbook slip behind the Sounders defense for a goal in the sixth minute.
Seattle (1-2) saw the return of forward Will Bruin off the bench. He subbed on for Montero in the 81st minute. Bruin is recovered from a calf injury.
LA (2-1) suffered their first loss of the MLS season.