BRONX | Mehdi Ballouchy had a memorable 200th Major League Soccer appearance by scoring his second goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough as the Seattle Sounders beat New York City FC 3-1 in front of 25,384 on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.
The journeyman Ballouchy tied the score at 1-1 with a powerful left-footed strike from 18 yards, beating Seattle goalie Stefan Frei in the 54th minute.
Unfortunately, the Sounders responded quickly as Clint Dempsey scored four minutes later and Obafemi Martins found the back of the net for the second time on the evening in the 66th.
New York City FC are now 1-5-3 (6 points), while Seattle improves to 5-2-1 (16 points) with a third consecutive victory.
"We were the much better team in the first 45 minutes," head coach Jason Kreis said. "But again, we don’t score a goal. We dictated the game, we had the majority of the chances against one of the best teams in the league which has been together for a very long time.
"I think the team still believes in themselves and they should. It’s not like we have been completely outplayed one game. We had chances to score and I expect the very same thing next week, the guys believing in themselves, having a good week of training and preparing for the game."
Patrick Mullins was running onto a ball played into the corner and he inadvertently contacted a defender who slipped, freeing up the New York City FC forward. Mullins continued his run and cut toward the box, held up play and slotted the ball to an on-rushing Ballouchy. The midfielder, who also scored in the 1-1 draw with Philadelphia on April 16, touched the ball forward with his right foot before blasting a left-footed shot into the mesh.
The celebrations were short lived as the visitors quickly regained the lead.
Seattle defender Dylan Remick gained possession near midfield, dribbled down the left side and passed to Martins. The Nigerian forward ran toward the byline, danced around his defender and served the ball into the box toward Marco Pappa. Pappa laid the ball off to Dempsey, whose shot dribbled past a diving Josh Saunders for a 2-1 advantage in the 58th.
Seattle wasn’t done. Martins received the ball off a nifty touch from Dempsey, split a pair of defenders and slotted it into the back of the net for a two-goal cushion.
"You have two world-class players and when you give them some time and space, they’re going to put the ball away," Saunders said. "It’s rough. But again, I thought we played well, we just didn’t execute.
“It’s really easy to turn negative. It’s easier to be negative than positive. We all need to be positive. We have to keep going because it’s a long season. There are a lot of games left and I think we’re moving toward something good. We have a lot of positive people and that creates good energy."
New York City FC came out the aggressor in the first half. The Club held advantages in possession (56.8%-43.2%), passes (283-217) and shots (11-4).
Midfielder Pablo Alvarez, who was making his first-ever start for the Club, was the main catalyst in attack. His outside-foot through ball was weighted perfectly for Mullins who ran into the box, but the forward’s shot went directly at Frei in the 17th minute.
Despite the better possession and chances, it was the Sounders and their leading goal-scorer who had the breakthrough.
In the 23rd minute, Pappa played a through ball to the speedy Martins who out-raced the New York City FC back line and had a breakaway. Martins, who set a Seattle single-season record with 17 goals in 2014, put the visitors ahead with his low shot.
The score remained 1-0 at halftime.
New York City FC return to action against the New York Red Bulls on May 10. Kickoff from Red Bull Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT.
“We’ll go over our mistakes but we have another big one next week," defender Chris Wingert said. "We just have to keep pushing and keep working hard in training. Guys just have to continue to work hard and bring the right attitude every day in training so we can get better. Hopefully, the results will start going our way.”
23’ Obafemi Martins, SEA (Assist:Marco Pappa)
54' Mehdi Ballouchy, NYC (Assist: Patrick Mullins)
58' Clint Dempsey, SEA (Assist: Marco Pappa & Obafemi Martins)
66' Obafemi Martins, SEA (Assist: Clint Dempsey)
28’ Kwame Watson-Siriboe, NYC (Yellow Card)
39' Marco Pappa, SEA (Yellow Card)
44' Tyrone Mears, SEA (Yellow Card)
50' Mix Diskerud, NYC (Yellow Card)
79' Obafemi Martins, SEA (Yellow Card)
85' Kwadwo Poku, NYC (Yellow Card)
88' Kwame Watson-Siriboe, NYC (Yellow Card)
New York City FC: Josh Saunders, Shay Facey (RJ Allen, 70'), Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Chris Wingert, Jeb Brovsky, Mix Diskerud, Ned Grabavoy, Pablo Alvarez, Mehdi Ballouchy (David Villa, 54'), Khiry Shelton, Patrick Mullins (Kwadwo Poku, 70')
Unused substitutes: Ryan Meara, Josh Williams, Thomas McNamara and Sebastian Velasquez
TOTAL SHOTS: 20; SHOTS ON GOAL: 9; FOULS: 15; OFFSIDE: 1; CORNER KICKS: 10; SAVES: 4
Seattle Sounders FC: Stefan Frei, Brad Evans, Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick, Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda (Christian Roldan, 90'), Marco Pappa (Lamar Neagle, 67), Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins
Unused substitutes: Troy Perkins, Leonardo Gonzalez, Zach Scott, Michael Azira and Chad Barrett
TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 8
Referee: Silvu Petrescu
Referee’s Assistants: Daniel Bellau and Richard Gamache
4th Official: Alex Chilowicz
Referee Assessor: Brian Hall
- Captain David Villa dressed after missing the past two matches with a hamstring injury and came on in the 54th minute
- Midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy's 54' goal tonight was his second of the season
- Goalkeeper Josh Saunders returned to the lineup after missing last Friday's match due to a suspension
- R.J. Allen made his debut for New York City FC two days after signing with the club