The Seattle Sounders defeated Austin FC 3-0 on Saturday at Lumen Field behind a first-half brace from Raúl Ruidíaz and a second-half own goal.
The Sounders opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Ruidíaz finished a beautiful attacking sequence orchestrated by Jordan Morris and Nicolás Lodeiro. Morris got to the right end line and dropped a ball back for Lodeiro, who faked a shot and slotted a pass to his left to a wide-open Ruidíaz from six yards out.
Ruidíaz doubled the lead in the 34th minute when Alex Roldan played in Morris behind the back line, and the United States international sent a simple ball across the middle for Ruidíaz to tap in on a first-time finish.
The brace was Ruidíaz’s 14th for the Sounders in all competitions. He leads the Sounders with nine goals in just 17 league matches this season.
Austin’s best chance of the half came in the 38th minute when Julio Cascante missed past the right post from close range after a scrum in the box following a free kick.
Seattle put the match to bed in the 68th minute when a header from Xavier Arreaga on a free kick deflected off the back of Ruben Gabrielson.
Austin had a chance to cut into the lead in the 83rd minute when Diego Fagúndez got free in behind at the far post, but his one-timed shot went wide of the net.
The Sounders played some of their best attacking soccer in the opening 45 minutes on Saturday. The front four of Ruidíaz, Morris, Lodeiro and Albert Rusnák were lights out in the offensive third and helped lead Seattle to two massive back-to-back wins.
Huge clean sheet
The Sounders earned just their sixth clean sheet of the MLS season, doing so in impressive fashion against a team in Austin that entered second in the league in goals scored with 60. Seattle was buoyed by tremendous play in central midfield again by young Homegrowns Josh Atencio and Danny Leyva, in addition to strong performances from center backs Arreaga and Yeimar.
Six points from their last two matches have the Sounders hopeful to extend their league-record postseason streak to 14 years. The Sounders ended the match just three points out of the final playoff spot with four games remaining. Seattle will look for its first three-match winning streak of the MLS season next Saturday when the club heads north of the border to take on the rival Vancouver Whitecaps (7:08 p.m. PT; FOX 13+, Prime Video, 950 KJR FM, El Rey 1360AM).