Raúl Ruidíaz came into Sunday’s match in a bit of a slump. Over his past 10 regular-season matches, the striker had just one goal from open play and no assists. If that sounds off, it’s probably because in between those regular-season matches, Ruidíaz had four goals and four assists during last year’s MLS Cup run.
Apparently, he was just waiting for another big game to get back on track.
Facing the newly crowned MLS is Back Tournament champion Portland Timbers, Ruidíaz broke out of any semblance of a slump by scoring two goals and adding an assist in the Sounders’ 3-0 win. For his efforts, he was named MLS Player of the Week, winning both the media and fan vote.
Ruidíaz’s first goal was a physics-defying redirection that caromed off the underside of the crossbar, off the back of Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark’s elbow, and into the net. There was some initial thought that it would be ruled an own-goal, but MLS has generally granted any benefit of the doubt on plays like that to the attacker. The second goal, which was nominated for Goal of the Week, was an exquisite chip.
Just to cap off the performance, Ruidíaz set up Kelvin Leerdam for the dagger despite sitting on a hat trick.
Including the playoffs, Ruidíaz now has seven goals and two assists in six career matches against the Timbers, including at least one goal in each of his last five matches against them. That puts him second only to Clint Dempsey on the Sounders’ all-time list for scoring against the Timbers. Dempsey, it should be said, faced the Timbers 10 times.