It should come as no surprise that the Seattle Sounders dominated the Week 14 MLS Team of the Week following their historic win over Austin FC at Q2 Stadium on Thursday.
Striker Raúl Ruidíaz, defender Josh Atencio and Head Coach Brian Schmetzer all received the league-wide recognition for their roles in a shorthanded Sounders side, fielding a record-setting five teenagers in the starting lineup, picking up three massive points in Texas.
Coming on as a substitute in the 54th minute, Ruidíaz made an instant impact in the match, providing a bit of combination play and helping Seattle string together a bit more possession. That shifting tide paid off quickly as Seattle's Peruvian striker scored what has to be considered a Goal of the Year frontrunner. After calmly settling a poor clearance from an Austin defender, Ruidíaz spotted goalkeeper Brad Stuver slightly off his line and somehow managed to strike a swerving half-volley from 41 yards out.
After breaking into the team this year as a holding midfielder, Atencio showcased his versatility and maturity on Thursday night as he supplied a seemingly veteran performance as right-sided center back in Seattle's back three. The 19-year-old Homegrown Player pitched in with two tackles, four successful pressures, a block and three interceptions along with completing 83.3 percent of his passes.
Schmetzer gets the nod as Coach of the Week after setting up a youthful, heavily rotated side for success against a tricky Western Conference opponent. Fielding the second-youngest starting lineup in league history, Schmetzer and his coaching staff set up his team tactically to perfection and empowered the young players to take the most of their opportunities. As the Seattle steward noted in his post-match press conference, there are no moral victories for playing youngsters. The culture of the club sets an expectation for every player who represents the Sounders to go out and win the game, and it was clear on Thursday night that the entire squad has fully bought into that ethos.