In a downpour at Yankee Stadium, a first-half goal from Cristian Roldan wasn’t enough to keep the Seattle Sounders afloat. A pair of second-half scores by New York City FC’s David Villa, one from a controversial penalty decision, sank the Sounders 2-1 Saturday afternoon. The defending MLS champions are 5-7-4 and seventh in the Western Conference.
After Roldan put Seattle on top in the 40th minute by running on to a loose ball and slotting a shot on the ground past a diving Sean Johnson, the Sounders looked poised to control the second half and secure a second road win of the season.
That changed in the 52nd minute, when referee Robert Sibiga awarded NYCFC (8-5-3, 27 points) a penalty after Oniel Fisher collided with Villa in the penalty area, appearing to win the ball cleanly. Villa converted the penalty to equalize.
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer did not openly criticize Sibiga’s call, but acknowledged the moment’s effect.
“It gave (NYCFC) life,” he said. “Referees have a tough job. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. But it did spark them a little bit. They got the second goal, and then we were trying to catch one there at the end. I thought we were unfortunate there. Maybe 2-2 or 1-1 is a fair result.”
Villa’s decider came in the 77th minute, scoring off a volley from a tight angle left of net that beat keeper Stefan Frei to the back post.
Roldan lamented the failure to capitalize on chances, which yielded just two shots on target over 90 minutes.
“At times I felt like we could have been more dangerous, especially in the first half,” Roldan said. “In the second hal,f we didn’t have many chances, we just needed to be a little bit sharper on the counter-attack because they had a lot of possession today.”
With a short turnaround before playing Orlando City Wednesday (7:30 p.m., JoeTV), Roldan said the team was already focused on the next task.
“(Orlando) is a quality team and that’s why we are focused already,” Roldan said. “We are focused on what they bring to the table. We are playing at home. where we play extremely well.”