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In its first home match after a four-game road stretch, Sounders FC (16-5-6, 54 points) earned a commanding 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids (13-5-9, 48 points) on Sunday evening at Lumen Field. In a matchup between the first and third-place teams in the Western Conference, Seattle remained atop the standings thanks to goals from Cristian Roldan, Jimmy Medranda and João Paulo, while Stefan Frei recorded the club’s 10th shutout of the season. 

Seattle got off to a dream start in the second minute, as a Colorado giveaway near the touchline lead to an interception by Will Bruin, who fed Roldan at the top of the 18-yard-box. Roldan then fired a shot that deflected off the hands of Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin into the back of the net for his fourth goal in as many matches (across all competitions).

Medranda doubled Seattle’s lead in the 24th minute with this career-high third goal of the season. Will Bruin played Roldan down the right wing for a cross to João Paulo, who laid off a ball perfectly to a streaking Medranda. The Colombian struck a powerful left-footed shot inside the near post to put the home side up 2-0. The goal was good for João Paulo’s team-leading ninth assist of the year.

João Paulo made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage on a beautiful individual effort, receiving the ball from a Roldan pass on the other side of midfield, blowing by four Rapids defenders and slipping the ball past Irwin for Seattle’s third goal of the first half.

Brian Schmetzer’s side returns to action with a home match next Saturday, October 9 with Cascadia rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Lumen Field (6:00 p.m. PT / FOX 13+, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).

MATCH NOTES

• With tonight’s win, Sounders FC remains atop the Western Conference with 54 points, two points ahead of second-place Sporting Kansas City, with a game in-hand.

• Cristian Roldan recorded a goal and two assists on Sunday night, giving him five apiece this season. It also marked Roldan’s fourth-consecutive match with a goal across all competitions. 

• Jimmy Medranda scored his third goal of the season, establishing a new career high. He already established a new career high in assists (3) earlier this year. The Colombian has started 11 of his 21 appearances this season after only registering 10 starts from 2018-2020 due to various injuries. 

• João Paulo tallied his ninth assist of the season on Medranda’s goal, tied for eighth in MLS. His goal later in the first half marked his third of the year, eclipsing his total from 2020, his first year in MLS.

• Stefan Frei recorded his fourth shutout of the season and 86th of his career, tying Joe Cannon for third all-time in league history. With just five goals allowed in 989 minutes this season, Frei’s 0.46 goals against average leads MLS. As a team, Sounders FC ranks first league-wide with a 0.81 goals against average. The club is tied for third with 10 shutouts. 

• Seattle is undefeated this year when scoring first, boasting a 14-0-4 record during the regular-season. The Rave Green have not lost a match this season where they possess the lead at halftime, going 7-0-3 in said matches.

• Sounders FC is now 19-7-3 all-time against Colorado in regular-season play, including a 12-2-1 mark at home. The win snapped a three-match winless streak for Seattle in the series. Seattle’s 19 wins all-time over the Rapids are the most over any opponent since the Rave Green entered MLS in 2009. 

• With a win next weekend against Vancouver, Sounders FC is assured postseason qualification for the 13th-consecutive season. The club currently owns the active and all-time MLS record for consecutive berths in the MLS Cup Playoffs. 

• Colorado played with 10 men for the final half hour of tonight’s match after Lucas Esteves was shown a red card following a challenge in midfield on João Paulo. 

• Schmetzer made four changes to his starting XI from the midweek match at San Jose. Of note, Raúl Ruidíaz did not dress this evening due to hamstring pain following Wednesday’s fixture against the Earthquakes.  

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 3 – Colorado Rapids 0
Sunday, October 3, 2021

Venue: Lumen Field
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistants: Ian Anderson, Ryan Graves
Fourth Official: Joseph Dickerson
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic
Attendance: 31,425
Weather: 67 degrees and clear

SCORING SUMMARY

SEA – Cristian Roldan (Will Bruin) 2’
SEA – Jimmy Medranda (João Paulo, Cristian Roldan) 22’
SEA – João Paulo (Cristian Roldan) 45’+1’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

COL – Danny Wilson (caution) 24’
COL – Michael Barrios (caution) 48’*
COL –
* Diego Rubio (caution) 54’COL – Lucas Esteves (ejection) 61’COL – Younes Namli (caution) 77’

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Yeimar, Xavier Arreaga (Abdoulaye Cissoko 78’), Nouhou, Jimmy Medranda (Shane O’Neill 69’), Alex Roldan; Cristian Roldan (Danny Leyva 73’), Josh Atencio, João Paulo (Kelyn Rowe 69’), Fredy Montero (Léo Chú 72’); Will Bruin

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

Total shots: 10
Shots on goal: 6
Fouls: 8
Offside: 0
Corner-kicks: 1
Saves: 4

Colorado Rapids – Clint Irwin; Keegan Rosenberry (Cole Bassett 80’), Danny Wilson (Lucas Esteves HT), Auston Trusty, Lalas Abubakar; Michael Barrios (Younes Namli 73’), Mark-Anthony Kaye, Jack Price, Kellyn Acosta; Andrew Shinyashiki (Diego Rubio HT), Braian Galvan (Nicolas Mezquida 73’)

Substitutes not used: Drew Moor, Dominique Badji, Abraham Rodriguez, Steven Beitashour

Total shots: 10
Shots on goal: 5
Fouls: 17
Offside: 2
Corner-kicks: 8
Saves: 3