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Winners & Losers: Sounders 4, FC Cincinnati 1

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The Sounders win their first opening game since 2015.

How good was that? Put that in your narrative pipe and smoke it. The Sounders got off to a flying start in 2019, which is rare. The night could easily be overshadowed by any and all narrative. Honoring Sigi. Honoring the 2009 Sounders. Jordan Morris’ return. But the Sounders put together a statement performance to start off the season with a bang.

Winners

Victor Rodriguez

Earlier this week Garth Lagerwey told the media that Rodriguez would be the team’s 3rd Designated Player, at least for the foreseeable future. Whether or not that is merely an accounting mechanism is neither here nor there after the performance that Rodriguez put in on Saturday night, arguably the best player on the field. He created a team high 5 chances. He notched 2 assists. He roasted Alvas Powell (more on that later) all night. And best of all, he showed Sounders fans what he’s truly capable of when he is healthy. If this is the Victor we’re going to get for 2019, watch out.

Kelvin Leerdam’s Ankle Surgery

Leerdam spent most of 2018 with a mysterious ankle injury. That may be a reason why it seemed like he had a bit of a down year by his standards, at least. But now that’s healthy, he’s seemingly back to his best. He put in a great performance, that he was highlighted with a goal.

Raul Ruidiaz & Nico Lodeiro

We’re running out of positive adjectives to describe these two. They’re good. They’re really, really good. Lodeiro picked up two assists on the night, putting him at 38 since he arrived in 2016. That’s the most in MLS in that time frame by a long shot.

Ruidiaz has now scored 14 goals in 17 games for Seattle. That’s insane. Oh, and this:

Losers

Slow-Start Narratives

It’s only one game. Brian Schmetzer was clear about that in his postgame comments. But you could tell that giving Cincinnati a hiding meant to the team on Saturday night. They definitely are sick of the slow starts, and that performance showed that they want to compete for the top spot in the Western Conference and even the Supporters’ Shield.

Alvas Powell

Rumor has it that Powell is still spinning around somewhere inside CenturyLink Field. The former Portland Timber will likely be doing his best to forget with an in form Rodriguez running at him all night. I don’t think anyone has ever been more relieved than him when he saw his number go up in the 86th minute to be subbed out. His night was maybe best exemplified by this play in the 54th minute when the Sounders attack down his side ... which you’d never know since he never shows up in the camera frame.

The legend of Leonardo Bertone’s banger

Pick that out, eh? FC Cincinnati went up 1-0 in the 13th minute with an absolute world class goal. In another timeline, it sparks Cincy to an upset victory in their first-ever MLS game. Instead, it’s more of a footnote as FCC would go on to give up 4 more goals and be roundly destroyed by the Sounders. A great goal to be sure, but ultimately not particularly meaningful.

Now it’s your turn, who are your Winners & Losers?