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Sounders at San Jose Earthquakes, recap: Raúl Ruidíaz delivers in first start

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It wasn’t pretty, but it was a much-needed victory either way.

MLS: Seattle Sounders at San Jose Earthquakes John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

A wise man once said “Let’s go streaking” and the Seattle Sounders did. Their 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes extended the unbeaten run to five matches and marks the first they’ve scored back-to-back wins this season.

On his birthday Raul Ruidiaz started his first match with the Sounders, scored his first goal and conserved his energy so he could potentially start Sunday against New York City FC.

Though Seattle won there was a clear indication that they were not a complete team. They started slowly, possibly due to the short rest. They were outworked, and out efforted. It was possibly a match that they should have lost, but they didn’t. After a first half of a season losing games they should win, they won a match that should have been a draw, at best.

Key Moments

Without a doubt the key moment came when Raul Ruidiaz scored his Sounders account opener. It started because of strong defense and was a quick counter using the technical ability of Nicolas Lodeiro and Cristian Roldan.

There were a few moments when both Nouhou and Kim Kee-hee shadowed Chris Wondolowski. Whereas normally Wondo would get off quality shots ghosting between lines and channels, the left back and left centerback shaded him well, limiting the quality of opportunities.

Talking Points

5 Good

  • Schmetzer’s half-time magic is back. Seattle dominated possession and scored their goal in what would have been the third quarter. Their pace of play, and defensive pressure also increased. His subs gave Ruidiaz the potential to start on Sunday.
  • Ruidiaz plays defense. This is a great bonus, and is perfect for Schmetzer’s ethos.
  • Ruidiaz’s first touch almost always looks to unlock space.
  • Ruidiaz’s shot has serious power.
  • Happy birthday Rui, thanks for the goal-gift.

3 Bad

  • In the first half the Sounders struggled to get the ball into threatening positions. There was a high pass completion percentage in all sectors, but they didn’t create scoring opportunities.
  • It’s rare for the Sounders to lose duels and win the game. This stat is emblematic of both effort and defense. It shouldn’t be a surprise that 538’s xG system thinks that San Jose had a slightly better match.
  • If you want an encapsulation of how much Clint Dempsey is struggling this year his shot at 90+3’ perfectly shows it. Shooting on an empty net he failed to break the tie with Montero for regular season goals scored as a Sounder.

Lineups

Frei; Nouhou, Kim, Torres, McCrary; Svensson, Alonso (Dempsey 79’); A.Roldan (Shipp 87’), C.Roldan, Lodeiro; Ruidiaz (Bruin 66’)

Goals

62’ Ruidiaz (C.Roldan)

Poll

Who was the Man of the Match in the 1-0 win at San Jose?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Stefan Frei
    (63 votes)
  • 22%
    Kim Kee-hee
    (266 votes)
  • 3%
    Nicolas Lodeiro
    (47 votes)
  • 68%
    Raul Ruidiaz
    (800 votes)
1176 votes total Vote Now