The Seattle Sounders routed the Colorado Rapids 4-0 on Sunday at Lumen Field to open the 2023 MLS season behind goals from Cristian Roldan, Héber and a brace from Jordan Morris.
Colorado nearly opened the scoring inside two minutes when forward Darren Yapi rang a shot off the crossbar. Seattle hit a crossbar of its own just three minutes later when Alex Roldan’s left-footed effort ricocheted off the woodwork.
The Sounders thought they had taken the lead in the 15th minute when Cristian Roldan finished a squared ball from Morris, but Morris was whistled offside in the buildup.
Seattle finally found its first goal of the season in the 25th minute when Morris and Cristian Roldan combined again. On opposite sides from their starting positions, Morris picked out Roldan on the back post and his headed effort was saved by William Yarbrough, but Roldan headed the rebound into the net.
Morris then doubled the Sounders’ lead just moments before halftime when he dove to head in a loose ball in the box after captain Nicolás Lodeiro’s cross was snuffed out.
Newcomer Héber, who was starting in place of the injured Raúl Ruidíaz, notched his first goal in Rave Green in the 53rd minute when he scored from close range after a cross from Lodeiro was deflected.
Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei had a relatively quiet night but made two clutch saves in the second half. Frei denied Yapi on a 1-v-1 in the 66th minute before stone-walling Michael Barrios in similar fashion three minutes later to preserve the clean sheet, the 92nd of his illustrious career.
Morris capped his brace in the 83rd minute when he headed home a deflection at the back post from a Sounders corner.
The Sounders will now welcome fellow Rocky Mountain opponent Real Salt Lake to Lumen Field for matchday two next Saturday (7:30 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass On Apple TV App | TICKETS).
HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids | February 26, 2023
Rolling the Rapids
The Sounders extended their home winning streak to seven straight matches against the Rapids and pushed their total record to 16-2-1 in 19 all-time MLS meetings in Seattle.
Héber opens his account
Héber capped his home debut with a bang, opening his account in style to all but put the match out of reach. Seattle acquired the Brazilian from New York City FC this past offseason after he scored 24 goals in 70 MLS matches since entering the league in 2019.
The return of João Paulo
After coming on as a second-half substitute against Egypt’s Al Ahly in the FIFA Club World Cup a few weeks ago, João Paulo made his first start in competitive action since he suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Concacaf Champions League final last May. The Sounders benefited from the return of the Brazilian, who was instrumental in controlling central midfield on both sides of the ball in his 80 minutes.