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Does Raúl Ruidíaz deserve credit for Sounders’ goal?

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Replays aren’t entirely conclusive, but they are worth a closer inspection.

PORTLAND, Ore. — No one in the Seattle Sounders’ locker room seemed to be feeling particularly bad about winning a huge rivalry game on Sunday. Nor should they have. This was the Sounders’ first win here since 2014, after all. But that the game’s only goal came off a defender’s missed clearance made it feel slightly — and only slightly — less deserved.

Was it actually an own-goal, though?

@soundersfc #goal @timbersfc @raulruidiazm @sounderatheart @weareecs

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As the footage above (via LevyFilms) shows, Raúl Ruidíaz came awfully close to making contact before the ball crosses the line.

Unfortunately, though, the goal post is blocking what appears the definitive moment. It’s impossible to say for sure what happened based on that alone.

As luck would have it, the Sounders’ video team has an angle from the opposite side. There’s nothing entirely definitive in this angle, either, but it does seem to offer some evidence that Ruidíaz didn’t quite get there.

For me, what pretty much settles the debate is the relative lack of celebration from Ruidíaz. The Peruvian striker would have likely acted differently if he had made contact, and almost certainly would have been loudly making his case with team officials afterward (who would then be tasked with lobbying for an official change). If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that players are very reluctant to give up on a counting stat they feel they deserve.

None of that should diminish what was still a well-constructed attacking sequence. Whether or not Lodeiro was trying to sombrero the defender or simply made a poor first touch, his second touch with the outside of his boot is glorious. Kim Kee-hee also deserves a ton of credit for recognizing that he was being given space and aggressively dribbling into the box before putting in a nice cross that would have likely found Ruidíaz if the defender hadn’t deflected it first.