SEATTLE — New Designated Player Raul Ruidiaz may have drawn a lot of the media attention ahead of the Seattle Sounders’ 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, but it was midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro who provided the goals. Lodeiro’s 90-minute performance served as a reminder, one of many the Uruguayan has served up in 2018, that he is what makes the Sounders tick as they scored their most convincing home victory of the season.
Lodeiro found plenty to be upbeat about after the game.
“I think the team feels happy because we won,” Lodeiro said. “Raul played, we kept a clean sheet. We won in front of our fans. This is a good thing for us because we need confidence. Now for the next game we have Raul at 100 percent, he’s a very good player, he’ll help our team. Today was a very good day for our team.”
Sporting the captain’s armband and having scored a penalty kick against Atlanta United, there was no doubt who would step up to the spot when referee Chris Penso pointed to the spot in the 5th minute of play.
Lodeiro went to the left as Vancouver keeper Stefan Marinovic dove the other way. Lodeiro, who had gone down the middle in his attempt against Atlanta’s Brad Guzan, said it was time to change things up to avoid becoming predictable.
In a way, the Sounders are in the midst of doing the same thing on a macroscale. The club looked to be up to its old offensive ways Saturday, see-sawing the ball between defenders as they switched the field and sprung wingers and fullbacks alike into the wide channels.
In the middle of it all was Lodeiro, facilitating linkup play as he attempted a match-high 68 passes and completed 89.7 percent of them. The Uruguayan also took a match-high 97 touches, 12 more than the next highest (Nouhou) and 28 more than the Whitecaps’ highest tally (Jakob Nerwinski).
Lodeiro was asked after the match if Saturday’s result, especially in the context of a four-match unbeaten streak, felt like the start of the comebacks that defined the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
“Yes,” Lodeiro responded. “I think yes because we don’t have time to lose more points. This is the way. We know the situation. The last two years we started the same, we played bad and then we played better, I hope this time it’s the same and we start winning.
“The last four games, we played like a team. When we needed to run, we ran. When we needed to fight, we fought, when we needed to play, the team played. Today we started winning. This is important to the team because we have to control the tempo of the game. We showed we have a good team.”