The Seattle Sounders defeated Minnesota United 1-0 at Lumen Field on Saturday afternoon behind a goal from João Paulo.
The Brazilian scored his second goal of the season, both of which have come against Minnesota, in the 22nd minute when he finished a one-timed shot from the top of the 18-yard box off a beautiful dropped cross from Nicolas Benezet.
Seattle knocked on the door several times in the first half and nearly doubled its lead just before halftime when a flicked header from Will Bruin sent Benezet through on goal, but his shot went wide of the net.
The Sounders were without several routine starters in Raúl Ruidíaz (Peru) and Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador), who arrived too late from international duty to make the matchday roster. Cristian Roldan (United States), Alex Roldan (El Salvador) and Brad Smith (Australia) all returned from FIFA World Cup Qualifying as well and were available off the bench.
The Rave Green play at Lumen Field again on Tuesday in the Leagues Cup Semifinals against Liga MX’s Santos Laguna (7 p.m. PT; ESPN2, Univision | TICKETS). The Sounders then return to MLS play with a road match at Real Salt Lake next Saturday (6:30 p.m. PT; JOEtv, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
The Sounders saw the return of starting goalkeeper Stefan Frei and defender Nouhou for the first time in several months. Frei (knee, blood clots) hadn’t played since May 12 at the San Jose Earthquakes, while Nouhou (adductor) had been out since May 30 against Austin FC. Seattle benefited greatly, as the two helped keep a clean sheet at home. Frei looked comfortable, making four saves on the day.
Back to winning ways at home
After failing to win the last four matches at Lumen Field, the Sounders picked up their sixth victory of the season at home and extend their Western Conference lead to two points over Sporting Kansas City.
Chú awaits debut
Summer transfer window acquisition Léo Chú made the matchday roster for the first time since signing. The 21-year-old Brazilian did not make his first cameo, but with fixtures coming thick and fast, he figures to be an influential part of the Sounders for the rest of this season and beyond.