On Friday night, the Sounders hosted the top team in MLS, DC United. Without the likes of Dempsey, Martins, Evans and Pappa this looked to be an uphill battle for the Sounders. Then a red card and a superb strike by Tyrone Mears gave the Sounders a win. It wasn’t pretty but here are three things that helped us steal three points.
Zach Scott Ruffles Feathers
Zach Scott was all over Fabian Espindola from the first whistle. Scott is a physical center back that does not shy away from a challenge and stands his ground. After laying out Espindola early in the first half you could tell the tension was mounting between the two. This is what Scott does and why he has been an important player for the Sounders over the years.
This is also why when he starts a game I know that he is going to have a yellow by the end and that there is always the possibility the Sounders could be playing with 10 men. His physicality made Espindola lash out on Friday and gave the Sounders the advantage they needed. Whether it was by design or not, it worked. Scott is not going to win any points for style but when you need a bruiser in the center he is your man.
Tyrone Mears Delivers
In the 88th minute, Tyrone Mears scored a superb goal that brought life back into Sounders fans and players. Mears has been outstanding at right back this season and is one of the best in league. He has done more than fill the void that Deandre Yedlin left, he has made the Sounders better.
Mears has the ability to keep possession, make good runs out of the back and play quality crosses in the box. It has changed the way the Sounders come out of the back and has helped the Sounders counter all year. He has solidified a Sounders defense that has looked shaky in the past. Mears has been one of the best Sounders off season pick ups and with his goal on Friday should finally be getting the attention he deserves.
Alonso Clogs up the Midfield
Seeing Alonso patrolling the Sounders midfield again was a welcoming sight. It was not his best outing for the Sounders but having his presence in the midfield is a big confidence boost for the team. Alonso is a calming presence and his work rate is never lacking.
This has been a rough year for him with injuries but on Friday night he looked the most fluid he has all year. His stride was unhampered and he looked to be the Alonso of old. The rust is still working its way off and some of his passes were way off target but with the addition of Erik Friberg, his job should start getting easier. It was a good sign that Alonso went all ninety minutes even though that was not the plan. If he can remain healthy, the month of July and the rest of the season are looking up for the Sounders.