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Lumen looming large: Sounders win 4th straight at home

Sounders make it four straight at home with a 2-0 win over the Revolution.

Last Updated
6 min read
Kayla Mehring / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders hosted a New England Revolution side currently mired in the depths of the Eastern Conference standings — albeit also winners of 5 of 6 — on Saturday night, and for the third consecutive game they claimed all three points. With goals from Jordan Morris and Albert Rusnák the Sounders claimed a 2-0 victory that puts them in 6th in the West riding a five-game unbeaten run during which they’ve won four consecutive home games. The shutout also means that Stefan Frei, who made four quality saves in this one, now has 110 career MLS clean sheets, putting him two behind Kevin Hartman for second on the all-time leaderboard.

The Sounders jumped out in front in the 15th minute thanks to an excellent Morris goal. The play came from a Jackson Ragen clearance that Léo Chú headed on to start the transition; Morris provided some nice holdup play, laying the ball off for Albert Rusnák and turning to start making a run in behind. Rusnák returned the favor with an excellently shaped and weighted pass to split the defense and send Morris behind in a foot race with Dave Romney, which Morris won then muscled the defender off before blasting his shot past Aljaz Ivacic and into the top corner.

Seattle created some decent chances through the rest of the half, but struggled to really take control of the game. As a result, the Revs were able to create several good looks of their own, forcing Frei into a total of three impressive saves along with some blocked shots. The most notable of those came courtesy of Nouhou just before the half-hour mark. The Revs were on a dangerous attack and Nouhou scrambled back and threw himself in the way of a Giacomo Vrioni shot to help maintain Seattle’s one-goal lead.

The second half was much more controlled from the Sounders, as they outshot New England 10-3 in the final 45 minutes. They were close several times and created plenty of threatening moments, but during the first 20 minutes of the second half it seemed like the biggest moment might have been a play where halftime substitute Reed Baker-Whiting clashed heads with DeJuan Jones and came out of it with a big cut around his eye that needed treatment, leaving him with a shiner blossoming around his right eye.

That all changed in the 81st minute. Obed Vargas stepped forward and headed a loose ball 40 yards from goal into the path of Rusnák. Rusnák turned and dribbled towards goal with Morris running to his right and Raúl Ruidíaz ahead of him, but as he approached the top of the box he picked his own spot and stroked the ball into the bottom corner beyond the GK’s outstretched hand.

The team continued to push for another goal, but in the end they’ll happily take a pair of goals and a clean sheet as focus turns to the U.S. Open Cup road match against Sacramento Republic FC on Tuesday, July 9 at Heart Health Park.

Key moments

6 - Following a Sounders corner kick Obed Vargas pulls off a nifty move at the end line to keep the play alive and earn another corner for his efforts.

15 - GOAL! Jordan Morris beats Dave Romney for speed and strength as he runs onto a ball from Albert Rusnák, then sticks his shot in the top corner. 1-0 Sounders

21 - Paul Rothrock cuts inside from the right wing after some sustained possession and rips a shot from the top of the box, but it’s deflected and easily caught.

25 - Obed Vargas draws a free kick at the top of the box after a dangerous tackle from Xavier Arreaga that earns a yellow, and João Paulo’s shot goes over the bar.

29 - Nouhou makes possibly the most Nouhou block of all time, making some sort of Fosbury Flop to deny a Giacomo Vrioni shot.

35 - Stefan Frei comes up with a couple of saves to save the defense's blushes after Yeimar stepped out but failed to intervene on the play.

41 - Ian Harkes rips a shot from outside that forces Frei to parry the ball over the goal post for a corner.

50 - Another dangerous shot from Vrioni, this time from outside the box, forces Frei into a diving save to play the ball away from the top corner.

55 - João Paulo sends in a rocket after the ball bounces around the area, but his shot is parried by Ivacic and the Sounders can’t quite get on the rebound in time.

59 - The Sounders create some threatening possession in the final third as Cristian Roldan plays Morris into the box and Morris hits a cross to Reed Baker-Whiting on the left. RBW’s first time redirection falls to Rusnák in the box, but his behind the back pass comes up short of finding a teammate.

61 - Yeimar nearly doubles the lead with a header that’s tipped just over the bar off of a corner kick from Rusnák.

64 - RBW gets on the end of a Roldan cross at the back post but his header back across goal doesn’t find a teammate and he comes away from the play with a cut on his face.

71 - Raúl Ruidíaz gets a first-time shot off of a nice little pass from RBW, but the ball goes just wide of the post.

81 - GOAL! Obed Vargas gets a head on the ball to find Rusnák in space. Rusnák observes his options and chooses to have a hit from outside the area and puts it in the bottom corner to double the lead! 2-0 Sounders

Quick thoughts

Earning your minutes: For the third time in four games the Sounders made a halftime substitution. Reed Baker-Whiting replaced Léo Chú to start the second half, and after the game head coach Brian Schmetzer indicated that once again the team needed a lift and suggested that the players who earn their spots and want to be on the field are going to be the ones who play the minutes available. Paul Rothrock’s start was another example, and while he didn’t make his way onto the score sheet in this one he was once again a constant source of pressure on the opponents and provided energy from whistle to whistle. With everyone pulling in the same direction and real competition for minutes, we are starting to move closer to the best version of this team as constructed.

Super sub Ruidíaz: There’s no lack of desire or willingness to work for the team from Seattle’s DP No. 9. However as Raúl Ruidíaz has gotten older his ability to be at his best for 90 minutes week in and week out has unsurprisingly diminished. He is the club’s all-time leading scorer, and he’s obviously not going to be excited about taking a decreased role, but the proof is in the pudding at this point. When deployed as an impact sub, able to go full-speed for 30 minutes or so, Ruidíaz has been so much sharper. He might not be quite his old self, but he’s still a player who can have a serious impact. Is that worth a DP tag? That’s a tougher question to answer, but it’s much easier to justify when the other big players are carrying more of the load and he’s putting in impactful half-hour instead of a listless 80 minutes.

Obed Vargas star is rising: Whether a deal materializes this summer or not, it’s becoming increasingly clear that his days in Seattle are almost certainly numbered. The teenager who burst onto the scene when he stepped into the CCL Final to replace an injured João Paulo has been on a meteoric rise this season, and with his switch to representing Mexico and rumored interest from Liga MX clubs — to say nothing of potential European interest — the Sounders will get an offer that’s too good to refuse sooner or later. His game tonight, with the kind of smart defensive play that turns a loose pass into an immediate threat for the opponent, was just one example. It’s in all of our best interest that we enjoy the kid while he’s still around. He’ll always be a Sounder, no matter where he goes, but he won’t always be roaming the field here in Seattle.

Notable quote

Player spotlight

Stefan Frei – Frei’s four saves may not be an eye-popping stat line, but they were all key to keeping his 110th career shutout and making sure the team held onto the win. His 35th minute double-save in particular stands large, as Seattle were facing waves of pressure as the half wound down.