In the entire MLS history of the Seattle Sounders, it’s hard to imagine a player who has shown up more often in big moments than Raúl Ruidíaz. That’s particularly apparent whenever he plays against the Portland Timbers.
Ruidíaz came up especially big on Sunday. Fresh off the Sounders blowing a 2-0 lead and the Timbers clearly gaining momentum, Ruidíaz stood over a free kick on the very edge of the penalty area with one idea in mind: to go for goal.
The ensuing free kick could not have been better. Ruidíaz’s shot was hit with such force and such accuracy that no goalkeeper in the world could have stopped it.
Medranda’s goal was probably the better goal but I’m still marveling at Raul’s free kick. pic.twitter.com/M1z4chxQOz— Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) August 16, 2021
A few minutes later, Ruidíaz added another, this time by being the first to a rebound off a Nico Lodeiro free kick. Combined, the two goals were enough to put Ruidíaz back into the Golden Boot lead (13 goals) and earn him MLS Player of the Week honors.
“It’s not just the quality of the goals that Raúl scores, but it’s the timing of when he scores them,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said after the match. “We needed that. We needed that goal from Raúl to get us back on top.”
Including playoffs, Ruidíaz now has 10 goals in 10 career appearances against the Timbers. Three of those have come in the two games he’s played against them this year. In the entire history of the rivalry dating to 1975, only Roger Levesque has as many goals.
The award caps off a pretty solid week for Ruidíaz, who is expected to be called into the Peru national team for a trio of World Cup qualifiers from Sept. 2-9. Ruidíaz also scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal on a penalty against Tigres UANL in Leagues Cup play. His 56 all-competition goals is one behind Clint Dempsey for second and 11 behind Fredy Montero for first on the Sounders’ all-time list.