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Sounders vs RSL, recap: Gaining momentum

The Sounders are on a winning streak after a 2-0 win over RSL.

Kayla Mehring

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders hosted Real Salt Lake in their second game of the season, with an opportunity to continue to put the bad memories of 2022 behind them and get a little bit of revenge in the process. They did just that, claiming a 2-0 win that could have easily been more like 5- or 6-0, and probably should have at least been 3-0. Seattle had a pretty firm grip on proceedings, controlling possession and dominating when it comes to chance creation as they took 9 shots to RSL’s 1 in the first half. By the end of the game they outshot RSL 19-7, with 12 of those shots coming from inside the box.

After a number of good looks, Jordan Morris opened the scoring with his third goal of the season — all of them headers — in the 35th minute. Morris rose up above right back Andrew Brody to head home an Alex Roldan cross.

Just under an hour into the game the Sounders doubled the lead. A well-worked sequence saw Seattle move the ball down the field and into RSL’s penalty area, setting up an effort from Nico Lodeiro that Zach MacMath lept up and swatted away. Unfortunately for him, his save fell straight to the feet of Alex Roldan, who found Héber for a tap-in. There were plenty of good looks after the second goal, but for all the opportunities the game ended 2-0.

Wins over weakened sides from the Colorado Rapids and RSL and any necessary caveats aside, the Sounders sit atop the table with higher heights still to be reached.

Key moments

9’ — Héber swoops in to clean up the rebound off of a shot from Nico Lodeiro, but the spinning effort is cleared off the line by Justen Glad.

15’ — Yeimar gets caught out trying to break up a play, and João Paulo makes a hard recovery run to prevent a cross with a slide tackle that sends the ball out for a corner.

35’ — JORDAN MORRIS! Alex Roldan lines up a cross from just outside the right corner of the box and finds Morris at the top of the 6 to head it home! 1-0 Sounders

58’ — Héber makes it two! Zach MacMath paws away a ball from Lodeiro right into the feet of Alex Roldan, who plays it in for the striker to put away from point-blank range. 2-0

68’ — Morris gets out on the run behind the Salt Lake defense with help coming behind, but MacMath reads the ball from Morris perfectly to cut out the danger.

76’ — The vibes are incredible, the play is flowing, and the Sounders have been just that far from making it 3-0 through intricate passing sequences into and around the area.

79’ — Another clever series of passes sends Héber through the backline with acres of space, but his eventual shot is well read by MacMath who comes up with another save.

88’ — Raúl Ruidíaz nearly marks his return with a goal, as a patient and smart series of passes on a counter sets him up to the left of goal, but his shot comes off the far post.

Quick thoughts

The Alex Roldan-aissance: As Alex Roldan continues to be a huge part of the team’s attack, and records the first multi-assist game of his MLS career, it seems fair to wonder if he’s the single player who benefits most from the new system of play the Sounders have cooked up. The younger Roldan is being utilized in a role not too dissimilar from the one Trent Alexander-Arnold plays in for Liverpool. He’s a fullback when the Sounders are defending, but as soon as the Sounders have the ball he’s basically a forward, free to roam and find pockets of space and hit killer balls. His two assists are the highlights of his performance, but he was a constant threat throughout the 90 minutes.

Ruidíaz is back, baby! Raúl Ruidíaz has returned from war, having missed the season opener with a tight hamstring. After the striker missed significant time in 2021 and 2022 to various muscle issues, it’s been good to see the team be patient in bringing him back in, something that’s been helped by Héber’s success in the first two games. Ruidíaz got a good run out in the last 10 minutes of the game, and nearly grabbed what would have been an immediate classic goal had it found the back of the net. Regardless of the end product, it’s great to have Ruidíaz back and hungry for goals. His addition to a squad that’s now scored six goals in two games to start the season should give the rest of the league some serious concerns.

Highlife Soccer: In another part of the world, the Sounders might be playing champagne football. This is America, though, and the effervescent stuff that’s flowing around Lumen Field is the champagne of the American game. It’s Highlife Soccer. Brian Schmetzer and Stefan Frei both made the point after the game that the Sounders through the first two games of the season are playing the best we’ve seen from the club in years. Some of the passing and interchanges from tonight’s game even drew comparisons to the Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins days. This won’t last forever, but the team’s going to make it last for as long as they can. Kick your feet up and enjoy it while you can.

Did you see that?!?

A 14-pass sequence to set up Cristian Roldan’s initial shot, then two separate ball recoveries before Alex Roldan’s cross to Jordan Morris’s dome.

He said what?!?

The vibe? It’s immaculate.

One stat to tell the tale

2 — Alex Roldan’s 2 assists marks the first time he’s recorded multiple assists in a single game with the Seattle Sounders.


Man of the match

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Alex Roldan
    (789 votes)
  • 14%
    Jordan Morris
    (147 votes)
  • 6%
    (64 votes)
  • 4%
    Jackson Ragen
    (45 votes)
1045 votes total Vote Now

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