Sounders escape with 1-1 draw against LAFC

Seattle’s Brad Smith grabbed the second-half equalizer as the Sounders escaped with a 1-1 draw against Los Angeles FC in a clash of Major League Soccer Western Conference heavyweights on Saturday.

LAFC, who were without forwards Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, had seized the lead in the second minute on a free kick from Eduard Atuesta from just outside the penalty area.

Xavier Arreaga was whistled for a foul on Kwadwo Opoku and Atuesta slotted the free kick underneath the Sounders’ defensive wall and past diving Seattle keeper Stefan Frei.

The goal in the 85th second was the fastest ever scored by LAFC.

The lead would stand through the opening half, Seattle’s best chance to pull back a shot before the break coming in the 24th minute, when Cristian Roldan’s long-range blast bounced off the post.

The rebound landed in front of Joshua Atencio, whose left-footed shot sailed over the crossbar.

Mark-Anthony Kaye came close to doubling LAFC’s lead early in the second half, but his shot at an open goal rolled past the far post.

And Seattle, who fell to the Columbus Crew in the MLS Cup final last season, pulled level in the 54th as Australian forward Smith headed in the rebound after Raul Ruidiaz’s effort was blocked by Pablo Sisniega.

Elsewhere on the second weekend of the 2021 season, San Jose’s 17-year-old Cade Cowell scored one goal and set up another in the Earthquakes’ 3-1 victory over FC Dallas.

An all-Canadian affair saw Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps play to a 2-2 draw in Orlando, as the league’s Canadian clubs continue to play south of the border amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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