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Brad Smith goal gives Sounders a draw at LAFC

The Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles FC, regarded as two MLS Cup championship contenders this season, played to a 1-1 draw Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.

LAFC (1-0-1, 4 points) scored early but was kept off the scoreboard for 88-plus minutes of the match. Seattle (1-0-1, 4 points) had chances for a win in its first away match of the season, but couldn’t get a decisive goal.

LAFC scored inside of two minutes into the game on a free kick. Eduard Atuesta rolled in the try from just barely outside the 18-yard box after the Sounders had some miscommunication on where to line up to defend the kick.

It appeared that Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei opted to not have defender Nouhou place himself in a better spot to block the shot behind the wall of other defenders. Nouhou voiced his displeasure at his teammate after the play.

It was the fastest goal to start a game for LAFC in the four-season history of the club.

The Sounders had their chances in the first half. Cristian Roldan bounced a shot off the far post in the 24th minute, and Josh Atencio got the rebound and missed high.

Brad Smith tied it at 1 in the 54th minute. Alex Roldan sent a ball on target to Raul Ruidiaz, whose shot was saved. The ball came out to Smith, who got his first goal in a Sounders uniform after parts of the past three seasons with the club, when he headed down the rebound into the net.

Both teams were missing key players. LAFC’s Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela, the most recent two MLS Golden Boot winners for most goals in a season, were held out; Vela due to health and safety protocols. For Seattle, veteran forwards Nico Lodeiro and Fredy Montero did not play.

Ruidiaz lifted a header over the top of the net in the 89th minute, which would have given Seattle the lead.

The Sounders avoided what would have been a fourth straight regular-season loss to LAFC at Banc of California Stadium.

–Field Level Media

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