2-2 Draw with Cascadia Rival Vancouver keeps Sounders FC unbeaten in 2021

Jimmy Medranda bags his first MLS goal in over three years to grab a share of the points, while Raúl Ruidíaz’s hot hand continues with his ninth goal of the season; Rave Green look ahead to Independence Day showdown in Colorado on July 4 (6:00 p.m. PT / JOEtv, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM)
SEATTLE, WASH. – In a back-and-forth Cascadia clash, Sounders FC (7-0-4, 25 points) drew 2-2 with longtime rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-6-2, 8 points) on Saturday evening at Lumen Field. Raúl Ruidíaz and Jimmy Medranda scored for Seattle, extending the Rave Green’s unbeaten run to 11 games, as the club remains in first place in the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield race. In the club’s second home match in four days, 25,603 took in the contest at Lumen Field, the biggest audience of 2021 as the club continues to add capacity via its evolving COVID-19 protocols.
Seattle took a 1-0 first-half lead courtesy of Ruidíaz’s ninth goal of the season, currently second in the race for MLS Golden Boot. Josh Atencio began the play with a hard tackle to gain possession before feeding Will Bruin to lead the break. The ball found its way back to Atencio, who played Brad Smith down the left side of the 18-yard-box, resulting in a cross to Ruidíaz, who slotted it into the back of the net.
The visitors equalized minutes into the second half, as the Rave Green gave up their first goal from open play on the season, halting a league-record streak of 949 minutes. Caio Alexander played a long over-the-top ball into Seattle’s final third to Cristian Dájome, who got behind the defense and rounded Stefan Cleveland before rolling a shot into an empty net. Lucas Cavallini gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead seven minutes later, receiving a cross from Dájome and heading the ball down and into the net.
Medranda evened the score in the 71st minute for his first Sounders FC goal. Following a corner kick, the Colombian collected the initial clearance at the top of the area and smashed a shot through traffic into the back of Vancouver’s goal. It marked Medranda’s first MLS strike since April 20, 2018 while with Sporting Kansas City, also against Whitecaps FC.
After playing three matches in eight days, Seattle now has a full week to prepare for its next opponent, with the Rave Green heading to Colorado for an Independence Day showdown with the Rapids on July 4 (6:00 p.m. PT / JOEtv, Prime Video, Sports Radio 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
MATCH NOTES
  • In a rivalry dating back to 1974 in the original North American Soccer League, tonight’s matchup marked the 144th all-time contest between Sounders FC and Vancouver. In MLS regular-season play since 2011, Seattle moves to 15-7-6 all-time against Whitecaps FC.
  • Scoring in the 40th minute of play, forward Raúl Ruidíaz bagged his ninth goal of 2021, good for his 51st career MLS goal for the Rave Green (regular season and playoffs). The only other player to hit 50 goals or more in MLS regular season and postseason play is Clint Dempsey (53 goals), while Fredy Montero holds the all competitions club scoring record (62 goals).
  • Ruidíaz’s first-half goal gives him nine strikes so far in 2021, one behind the Galaxy’s Javier Hernández for first in MLS.
  • Returning from a right quad strain, Homegrown midfielder Josh Atencio made his first start for the Rave Green since April 24 vs. LAFC. The 19-year-old bagged his first career assist in the 40th minute of play, unlocking Vancouver’s defense with a deft through ball to an onrushing Brad Smith, who played the ball across the opposing area to Raúl Ruidíaz for the tap-in.
  • With the final ball on Ruidíaz’s opening goal, Brad Smith earned his second assist of 2021, tying him with two other players for second in assists on the roster (Will Bruin and Alex Roldan). In his Sounders FC career, Smith has nine regular-season assists.
  • Jimmy Medranda scored his first goal in over three years on Saturday night, striking a driven shot at the top of the eighteen-yard-box to level the score at two goals apiece. Medranda last scored in MLS on April 20, 2018 for Sporting KC, a match that was also against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
  • After conceding the club’s first goal from open play of 2021 in the 49th minute, Seattle’s streak was halted at 949 consecutive minutes. Having allowed just seven goals all season, tonight’s goals from Vancouver were the first allowed from open play this year. Previously, three goals came from penalties and another two from direct free kicks. Seattle had already set a new league record in this category, surpassing 2011 Real Salt Lake (803 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal from open play).
  • With the win, Seattle remains unbeaten in 2021. Through 11 matches, the club has seven wins and four draws, good for 25 points. Should the club win or draw its next match, it would tie the all-time MLS record. Four clubs have started a season unbeaten through 12 games. The last team to accomplish this feat was Real Salt Lake in 2014.
  • Following the win, Seattle remains atop both the Supporters’ Shield race and MLS Western Conference standings. The Rave Green lead Sporting Kansas City by two points in both sets of standings (the New England Revolution also have 23 points in the Eastern Conference).
  • Following Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over RSL, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer made two changes to tonight’s starting lineup against RSL: Brad Smith returned to his left wingback role for Jimmy Medranda, and Josh Atencio relieved Kelyn Rowe in central midfield.
  • Tonight’s Lumen Field crowd of 25,603 was the biggest audience to see a Sounders FC match since March 7, 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began. 24,652 watched Wednesday’s win over RSL under the club’s evolving COVID-19 protocols. Beginning with the club’s July 7 home match versus Houston, Sounders FC contests will be fully open once again.
MATCH SUMMARY
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Venue: Lumen Field
Referee: Guido Gonzales Jr.
Assistants: Eric Weisbrod, TJ Zablocki
Fourth Official: Luis Guardia
VAR: Ramy Touchan
Attendance: 25,603
Weather: 90 degrees and sunny
SCORING SUMMARY
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (Brad Smith, Josh Atencio) 40’
VAN – Cristian Dájome (Caio Alexandre) 49’
VAN – Lucas Cavallini (Cristian Dajome, Andy Rose) 56’
SEA – Jimmy Medranda (Fredy Montero) 71’
MISCONDUCT SUMMARY
VAN – Lucas Cavallini (caution) 22’
VAN – Caio Alexandre (caution) 45’+4’
VAN – Maxime Crepeau (caution) 89’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Cleveland; Alex Roldan (Kelyn Rowe 86’), Yeimar, Shane O’Neill, Abdoulaye Cissoko (Jimmy Medranda 68’), Brad Smith; Josh Atencio (Danny Leyva 61’), João Paulo, Cristian Roldan; Will Bruin (Fredy Montero 71’), Raúl Ruidíaz
Substitutes not used: Spencer Richey, Ethan Dobbelaere, Reed Baker-Whiting
Total shots: 19
Shots on goal: 5
Fouls: 9
Offside: 0
Corner-kicks: 2
Saves: 2
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Maxime Crepeau; Cristian Gutierrex, Andy Rose (Ranko Veselinovic 74’), Erik Godoy, Deiber Caicedo (Leonard Owusu 74’); Caio Alexandre, Janio Bikel, Russell Teibert (Ryan Raposo 85’), Michael Baldisimo (Patrick Metcalfe 81’); Lucas Cavallini, Cristian Dájome (Brian White 85’)
Substitutes not used: Thomas Hasal, Evan Newton, Derek Cornelius, Theo Bair
Total shots: 11
Shots on goal: 4
Fouls: 13
Offside: 2
Corner-kicks: 1
Saves: 3