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Sounders smash five past Montreal on the way to their first win of the season in a raucous home performance.

Last Updated
6 min read
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders hosted CF Montreal with a much-needed three points on the line, and boy, oh boy, did they come through. Seattle dismantled Montreal to the tune of 5-0, picking up their first win of the season and just their second clean sheet.

Despite a concerning start, the first half couldn’t have gone much better for the Sounders, although a 33rd minute save from Montreal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois denied one of the only things that could have improved on things. That save left Raúl Ruidíaz with just two goals through the first half, robbing him of what seemed sure to be his first half hat trick.

Things started darkly with Nouhou coming off after suffering a left thigh injury in the 8th minute. The leftback was replaced by Cody Baker, who once again filled in more than admirably. In the 20th minute the Sounders got on the board thanks to Ruidíaz’s first goal of the night. Albert Rusnák sent in a free kick from outside the right elbow of Montreal’s area and found Jackson Ragen at the back post. Ragen got a head onto the ball and sent it back towards the top of the box where Ruidíaz ran onto it and smashed it first time over the ‘keeper and into the far side netting.

Seven minutes later and it was Ruidíaz again scoring a goal created by Rusnák. This time Rusnák had been fouled while driving into the box, and was awarded a penalty after review. Ruidíaz stepped up to the spot and instead of going for his third panenka of the season he smashed it hard and low to his left, beating the outstretched Sirois in the 27th minute. Montreal came dangerously close to a goal of their own late in the half, as defender Joaquin Sosa had a point-blank header off of a corner, but Stefan Frei made a huge save to keep hold of the clean sheet.

The second half got off to an incredibly hot start, with Jackson Ragen going close just a couple minutes in with a shot from the back post, then Jordan Morris made one stick a minute later. Cristian Roldan sent a low cross in from the right side that Morris let run through his legs to set up a glorious finish as he flicked it goalward with his right heel. The shot hit a defender and the goalkeeper, but wouldn’t be denied as it trickled in to put Seattle up 3-0. In the 53rd minute Montreal went down to 10 when Nathan Saliba was shown a second yellow for a late tackle on Josh Atencio. From there the Sounders were flowing.

Seattle piled on the pressure, but down a man Montreal held impressively firm. That is, until the 82nd minute, at which point the waves of pressure from the Sounders turned into a sequence of beautifully precise passing between Rusnák and Ruidíaz that included Rusnák controlling the ball with his head as he charged into the box with the entire Montreal defense chasing him, only to lay the ball across for the late arriving Alex Roldan to tap it into an empty net and make it 4-0 to the good guys. They’d go on to add a fifth goal on the night, with substitutes Danny Musovski and Dylan Teves linking up with Musovski providing a nice assist on a good far post finish from Teves to close the game out.

Key moments

8' - After playing a ball for Jordan Morris to run onto down the left side, Nouhou goes down with an apparent muscle injury to his left leg. Cody Baker replaces him.

20' - GOAL! Raul Ruidíaz gives Seattle a 1-0 lead with a golazo that loops over the GK after a Rusnák free kick is headed back to him by Jackson Ragen. 1-0 Sounders

27' - GOAL! Ruidíaz gets his second, smashing home from the spot after Rusnák is awarded a penalty on review. 2-0 Sounders

33' - Ruidíaz goes close on another, as he and Rusnák work a give-and-go to set up the shot, but Sirois palms it away for a corner.

38' - SAVE! Stefan Frei comes up huge on a corner to deny a point-blank header from Juaquin Sosa and preserve the two-goal advantage.

47' - Ruidíaz lines up a shot that deflects and falls to Jackson Ragen, but his shot is off target and flies over the bar for a goal kick.

48' - GOAL! Jordan Morris makes it 3-0, finishing a Cristian Roldan cross with an audacious back heel flick that a defender and the GK can’t keep out. 3-0 Sounders

53' - Nathan Saliba is shown a second yellow for a late foul on Josh Atencio, and Montreal are down to 10 for the remainder of the game.

82' - GOAL! Rusnák and Ruidíaz work through the defense to put Rusnák clear in the box where he plays the ball back for an empty net finish from Alex Roldan. 4-0

97' - GOAL! This time it’s substitute Dylan Teves getting in on the fun, finishing back across goal on a great pass from Danny Musovski. 5-0

Quick thoughts

Albert Rusnák is really good: There are plenty of players who will grab headlines after this game: Cody Baker’s substitute appearance at left back, Raúl Ruidíaz’s brace, Jordan Morris grabbing his first goal, and João Paulo’s first appearance of the season. They’re all deserving, but Albert Rusnák was something else. He probably won’t get credit on the stat sheet, and I’d be shocked if he can get a bonus for them, but the team’s first two goals don’t come without Rusnák – his free kick leads to the opener and he’s the player who drew the penalty for Ruidíaz to finish. His involvement was much more direct on Alex Roldan’s goal, but tonight’s game showed just how much the Sounders have missed Rusnák. His play creates more space for his teammates, and his ability to work even when the space is confined makes the job of opposing defenders that much more difficult. He doesn’t just create chances for his teammates, he makes it easier for them to create chances, and broadly makes their jobs a bit more manageable. He’s a DP chance creator, and tonight he played like one.

Dominant defense: There’s some skewing to the numbers from this one, as Montreal played over 40 minutes with 10 men when you account for stoppage time, and by the time Nathan Saliba saw his second yellow the game was already out of hand. With those caveats aside, Seattle limited Montreal to just five shots and a total 0.53 xG according to FotMob. Single game xG is minimally useful, but in this case it’s at least somewhat descriptive of how thoroughly Seattle’s defense limited the visitors. Almost half of the total xG for Montreal came from Joaquin Sosa’s header (0.24 xG) that was saved by Frei, further underscoring how little they were able to create. Seattle had a wild 47 touches in the opposition box compared to 9 for Montreal. That this was accomplished despite Nouhou having to leave after just eight minutes is even more impressive. The attack getting going is great, but having the defense back to their best will mean the team’s floor is a lot higher than it looked.

Cody Baker makes his case: Baker’s assist in his substitute appearance against San Jose had some folks excited once again about his potential, and while he played well in his start against the Galaxy the positives of his performance were likely overshadowed by the result. His performance on the left side tonight was something else entirely. Baker is not, or maybe it’s better to say that he hadn’t been, a left-sided player. The centerback-turned-rightback spent some time on the left last year when injuries required it, and he showed well. Tonight he fully displayed the appeal of playing him out wide, as his hard work meant that the left side was covered from goal line to goal line. His desire to move forward when he got the ball on his feet helped to open up opportunities for Jordan Morris ahead of him, and allowed him to be a frequent outlet for his teammates when in possession. Baker had the second-most touches of all Sounders players with 96, just eight behind Alex Roldan with 104. When the Sounders dominate possession like they did tonight – and as they're designed to do more often than not – a key part of doing so is by getting the ball to the fullbacks and letting them dictate the game from out wide, acting as the fulcrums off of which the players in the spine and advanced positions work. Baker’s vision, passing ability and work rate are a good match to Roldan on the right, and tonight they helped to get the best out of the team as a whole. This is why he’ll keep getting opportunities.

Notable quote

Brian Schmetzer on what he saw that made the team so successful tonight:

Man of the match

Albert Rusnák – he had a meaningful hand in three of the Sounders four goals, and looked every bit the DP chance creator the Sounders need him to be.