With 2-1 home win over Real Salt Lake, Sounders FC’s unbeaten start to season moves 10 matches

Raúl Ruidíaz bags his 50th career MLS goal, with Cristian Roldan also finding the scoresheet; Seattle continues home stand on Saturday, June 26 in Cascadia clash against Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6:00 p.m. PT / JOEtv, Prime Video, Univision-Seattle, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM)

 

Seattle, Wash. – Continuing the club’s best-ever start to season, Seattle Sounders FC (7-0-3, 24 points) defeated Real Salt Lake (3-2-3, 12 points) at Lumen Field by a final score of 2-1, pushing the club’s unbeaten run to 10 games to begin the 2021 season. With the victory, Seattle becomes just the eighth team in MLS history to start a campaign unbeaten through 10 regular season matches. As Sounders FC continues to welcome more fans back into Lumen Field through the club’s evolving COVID-19 protocols, tonight’s crowd of 24,652 was the largest home attendance since March of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

 

Cristian Roldan broke the scoreless deadlock in the 58th minute for his second goal of the season. Raúl Ruidíaz fed Will Bruin for a shot inside the 18-yard-box that was saved, but Roldan pounced on the loose ball for an easy tap-in. The lead lasted approximately 20 minutes before RSL evened the score via penalty kick after Bobby Wood – making his RSL debut – drew a foul inside the area. Albert Rusnák converted the ensuing spot-kick to the left side of the net.

 

Ruidíaz scored the winner in the 88th minute via penalty, after an RSL defender was whistled for a handball inside the 18-yard-box. After a long run-up, the Peruvian scored fooled RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa with a Panenka-style shot right down the middle for his 50th career MLS goal for Sounders FC (including postseason play).

 

Seattle now prepares to conclude a three-match week with a pivotal Cascadia clash versus Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, June 26. Kickoff is slated for 6:00 p.m. PT at Lumen Field in the first matchup of the season between these sides in a rivalry that dates back to 1974 in the original North American Soccer League (JOEtv, Prime Video, Univision-Seattle, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).

 

MATCH NOTES

 

With the win, Seattle remains unbeaten in 2021. Through 10 matches, the club has seven wins and three draws, good for 24 points.

 

In addition to being the best start in club history to begin season, Seattle is just the eighth team in MLS history to go unbeaten through the first 10 matches of a season. Four clubs have started a season unbeaten through 12 games.

 

Following the win, Seattle remains atop both the Supporters’ Shield race and MLS Western Conference standings. The Rave Green lead the New England Revolution by one point for the top record in MLS, while also maintaining a four-point lead over Sporting Kansas City in the West.

 

Raúl Ruidíaz’s 88th-minute penalty kick was his 50th career MLS goal for the Rave Green (regular season and playoffs). Since joining Seattle midway through the 2018 season, the Peruvian has accomplished this feat in just 73 total games played. 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 second-half goal gives him eight strikes so far in 2021, tied with the Galaxy’s Javier Hernández for first in MLS.

 

With his goal in the 58th minute of play, Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan notched his second strike of the season and 24th overall in his MLS career. Since being acquired by Sounders FC from the University of Washington in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Roldan has made 183 regular season appearances for the Rave Green, starting 166 of those games.

 

Starting in midfield for the eighth time in 2021, Kelyn Rowe made his 250th MLS regular-season appearance this evening. In a career dating back to 2012, Rowe has represented the New England Revolution (2012-2018; 2020) Real Salt Lake (2019) and Sounders FC (2021).

 

Following Saturday’s 2-1 victory in Los Angeles against the Galaxy, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer made just two changes to tonight’s starting lineup against RSL. Jimmy Medranda made his first start as a Sounder, replacing Brad Smith at left wingback. Will Bruin returned to the starting lineup for Fredy Montero.

 

Returning from a right quad strain, Josh Atencio made the bench for the first time since April 24 vs. LAFC. The Homegrown midfielder made a substitute appearance in the 85th minute, replacing Kelyn Rowe.

 

Despite conceding a penalty-kick goal tonight, Seattle still has not allowed a goal from the run of play in 2021. Of the league-best five goals the club has allowed, three have come from penalties and two have come from direct free kicks.

 

With two goals scored tonight and one conceded, Sounders FC maintains the best goal difference in MLS (+13). Orlando City is second in the league at +10.

 

Seattle now has 15 wins, 13 losses and six draws all-time versus RSL (both regular season and MLS Cup Playoffs). Sounders FC has claimed a win or a draw in five of the past six meetings against the Utah side (including a win in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs).

 

The Lumen Field crowd of 24,652 was the largest Sounders FC home attendance since March of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

 

MATCH SUMMARY

 

Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Real Salt Lake 1

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

 

Venue: Lumen Field

Referee: Ted Unkel

Assistants: Cameron Blanchard, Mike Rottersman

Fourth Official: Michael Radchuk

VAR: Jorge Gonzalez

Attendance: 24,652

Weather: 74 and sunny

 

SCORING SUMMARY

 

SEA – Cristian Roldan 58’

RSL – Albert Rusnak (penalty) 79’

SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (penalty) 88’

 

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

 

RSL – Everton Luiz (caution) 40’

SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (caution) 76’

RSL – David Ochoa (caution) 88’

RSL – Pablo Ruiz (caution) 90’+6’

 

LINEUPS & STATS

 

Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Cleveland; Alex Roldan, Yeimar, Shane O’Neill, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Jimmy Medranda (Brad Smith 66’); Kelyn Rowe (Josh Atencio 85’), João Paulo, Cristian Roldan; Will Bruin (Fredy Montero 85’), Raúl Ruidíaz (Danny Leyva 90’+4’)

 

Substitutes not used: Spencer Richey, Ethan Dobbelaere, Reed Baker-Whiting

 

Total shots: 16

Shots on goal: 6

Fouls: 10

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 9

Saves: 1

 

Real Salt Lake – David Ochoa; Andrew Brody (Donny Toia 74’), Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera, Marcelo Silva; Damir Kreilach, Justin Meram (Anderson Julio 80’), Albert Rusnak, Nick Besler (Bobby Wood 67’), Everton Luiz (Pablo Ruiz 67’); Rubio Rubin

 

Substitutes not used: Zac MacMath, Ashtone Morgan, Maikel Chang, Erik Holt, Justin Portillo

 

Total shots: 4

Shots on goal: 2

Fouls: 9

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 6

Saves: 4