The Seattle Sounders welcomed the league-leading LA Galaxy to Lumen Field for an early season game with the potential for major implications. The Sounders stood up strong and handed the Galaxy their first loss as they ran out to a 3-0 victory.
The story of the first half was written in a three-minute span. The Sounders flexed the strengths of the current roster and their new formation as the wingbacks got into dangerous positions, Cristian Roldan ran around to devastating effect, and Raúl Ruidíaz showed the quality that has made him one of the best strikers in the league since his arrival. Ruidíaz opened the scoring up with a flying kick to finish off some nice work from Will Bruin and Brad Smith. Then, only a few minutes later Brad Smith doubled the lead when he met a cross from Cristian Roldan in the center of the box. The Galaxy had stretches of possession and got a few good looks at goal, but Stefan Frei and his Sounders team were consistently up to the challenge.
The second half had action, but not much to write home about until after the hour mark when Nicolas Lodeiro entered the game making his season debut and also his first substitute appearance with the Sounders. Lodeiro’s introduction served to shift the tide further in the Sounders favor as they controlled possession and created chance after chance, but the runs and the final ball were just a touch out of sync. Raúl Ruidíaz sent the Galaxy packing with a stoppage time finish to get his brace and wrap up a tidy 3-0 and take the top spot in the Western Conference.
‘20 - Brad Smith runs onto a through ball from Will Bruin and plays a ball to the penalty spot, which Raúl Ruidíaz puts away with an impressive finish. 1-0
‘23 - Cristian Roldan plays a ball into the box that finds its way to Brad Smith. Smith’s initial shot is blocked, but he makes sure to put it away for his second goal in as many games. 2-0
27’ - Stefan Frei finds himself 1v1 with a Galaxy attacker and comes up big with a save to maintain the two-goal lead.
52’ - Chicharito gets on the end of a cross inside the penalty area, but Nouhou seems to do enough to make the shot difficult and he puts the ball wide of the goal.
66’ - Nico Lodeiro subs into the game, taking the place of Will Bruin, making his first appearance of the season.
81’ - Kelyn Rowe gets a floated header off of a Jimmy Medranda cross that beats the ‘keeper and goes off the cross bar AND the far post before bouncing on the goal line, but it stays out.
90+3’ - Nouhou hits a ball over the entire Galaxy team for Jimmy Medranda to run onto. His ball into the box is met by Olympic gymnast Raúl Ruidíaz who puts his second goal of the night away to close things out. 3-0
It’s good to be home: Kelyn Rowe’s homecoming seemed like it could be a feelgood story, for sure, but after a couple of down years it wasn’t totally clear what to expect from him on the field. He was a hot USMNT prospect at one point, so there was reason to think he could possibly reclaim some of that form with a return to his hometown. I don’t think any of us expected to see the level of performance he’s shown so far in the season, particularly tonight in his first start.
Rowe put in some quality defensive work, and was an impressive part of how the team played going forward. He was robbed by the ‘keeper and the structure of the goal, denying him the goal he probably deserved to celebrate his start, but that doesn’t take away anything from what looks like a sneaky good addition to the roster.
Rock ‘n’ Raúl: There was no doubt that Ruidíaz is the most dangerous player in the box for the Sounders, but he’s out to as hot of a start as we could ask for. Chicharito’s 5 goals in 2 games overshadowed a lot going into this game, but with his second brace of the season Ruidíaz is rocking and rolling out front for the team at the top of the table. His goals tonight showed the kind of incredible physical ability he possesses, and his remarkable technique to make even the toughest of chances look pedestrian. With the addition of Nico Lodeiro back into the squad, things are only going to get better from here.
Speaking of Lodeiro: You may have heard this already, but Lodeiro subbed into a game for the first time as a Sounder tonight. When he came onto the field he looked like he had saved up all of the energy from the two games he missed, and was everywhere on the field. Having Lodeiro covering every blade of grass and pulling the strings makes everyone’s job easier. With two wins and a draw through three games with less than half an hour of Lodeiro, things are looking pretty promising for this Sounders squad.
Did you see that?!?
Raúl Ruidíaz has a black belt in breaking goalkeepers’ hearts.
He said what?!?
Brian Schmetzer’s tactical trick that Major League Soccer doesn’t want you to know about!
"When Brad scores the second goal, he and Alex are the two farthest up field. Will and Raul were 40 yards up field. How are teams going to plan for that?"— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) May 3, 2021
One stat to tell the tale
12 — Shane O’Neill had 12 passes all game. His CB partners combined for a total of 94 as O’Neill’s primary responsibility was keeping Chicharito in his pocket.
Man of the match
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