SEATTLE — Will Bruin scored a brace, Cristian Roldan added another and the Seattle Sounders secured a 3-2 victory over a high-octane Toronto FC in the cross-conference matchup between the sides at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.
Armed with new Spanish midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo and veteran staples Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, TFC struck first and gave Seattle all they could handle on the day. Toronto got the opener just 11 minutes into the contest after Pozuelo lashed a pinpoint cross to the far post that Altidore headed past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
Seattle answered just 13 minutes later, however, as Bruin cashed home a diving header off a deflected cross from Brad Smith to bring the contest level at 1-1.
Bruin found his brace in the 66th, getting on the end of another cross from Smith to slot home the finish by TFC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg to put Seattle up 2-1. Roldan then added a laser finish for a two-goal lead just two minutes later, but Altidore pulled another back just two minutes after that, making it 3-2 and finishing off a wild, goal-filled sequence at CenturyLink.
Toronto almost found the leveler in second-half stoppage time off a curling shot from Pozuelo that looked headed for the net, but Frei denied the league’s newest star the dramatic leveler with a sprawling save to preserve the 3-2 victory.
The Sounders travel to Los Angeles next Sunday for a battle of two of MLS’ best when they take on LAFC (4 p.m. PT; FS1, YouTube, TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
BRACE FOR BRUIN
Making his second straight start in place of the injured Raúl Ruidíaz (heel contusion), Bruin broke through with a monster performance, a badly needed effort without the services of the team’s co-leading goalscorer in Ruidíaz. The 29-year-old veteran now has 20 regular-season goals for the club since joining from the Houston Dynamo ahead of the 2017 campaign.
Saturday’s match was a clash between two of the hottest teams in MLS, with the clubs combining for a 7-0-2 record to start the season. The result was an entertaining affair, as the clubs combined for five goals, including the furious stretch in the second half where there were three goals in five minutes. The Sounders got the better of this one, but TFC looked sharp for much of the game, especially at the beginning of the contest, and figures to remain a factor in the Eastern Conference.
It might be time to lay rest to a narrative. With Saturday’s victory, the Sounders are now a blistering 5-0-1 with 16 points taken from their first six matches, extending what was already the best start to an MLS campaign in franchise history. Much was made about the need for a strong start to the season after the club limped out of the gate during the past three seasons, needing furious second-half surges to salvage playoff spots. It’s still early, to be sure, but with five wins in six matches, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer couldn’t have asked for a better start to getting over that hurdle.