Jordan Morris snapped an eight-match scoreless drought before leaving because of an injury as the Seattle Sounders defeated the visiting New York Red Bulls 1-0 on Saturday night.
Stefan Frei made three saves to post his league-leading eighth shutout of the season for the Sounders (8-5-2, 26 points), who put an end to a two-match skid and moved atop the Western Conference.
The Red Bulls (3-5-7, 16 points) suffered their first loss in four league matches under new coach Troy Lesesne (2-1-1).
The Sounders played short-handed after the 75th minute, when Joao Paulo was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Morris scored in the 22nd minute. The ball pinballed back and forth between the teams along the left wing before Seattle’s Albert Rusnak gained control and sent a pass toward the corner for Leo Chu, who tracked down the ball and sent a cross toward the top of the 6-yard box.
Morris beat a defender to the ball and put a powerful one-timer over Red Bulls goalkeeper Carlos Coronel and into the top left corner of the net. It was Morris’ ninth goal of the season, one shy of Los Angeles FC’s Denis Bouanga for the most in the league.
Morris, though, started hobbling just after the goal and was noticeably grimacing as teammates encircled him in celebration. Seconds after the following kickoff, Morris sat down on the field, grabbing at his left groin, and was immediately substituted off.
Seattle pushed hard for another goal early in the second half, with Heber and Nicolas Lodeiro each narrowly missing the target in the opening three minutes.
Frei’s lone save in the first half was an easy one, coming on Cameron Harper’s 18-yard attempt in the 11th minute that deflected off a defender. Frei had to make a much more difficult stop on Elias Manoel’s header from the top of the 6-yard box in the 50th minute, dropping to his knees to make the save near the left post.
Frei’s biggest save came in the 66th minute, as Manoel got behind the Seattle defense on a long through ball from Cristian Casseres Jr. Manoel attempted a shot from 15 yards out that a diving Frei was able to get his left hand on to steer just wide of the right post.
–Field Level Media