The Seattle Sounders steamrolled Sporting Kansas City 4-1 on Saturday night at Children’s Mercy Park in a historic performance. Jordan Morris scored a club-record four goals, Léo Chú recorded a club-record four assists and Seattle walked away with a huge three points.
Morris plays the No. 9
Yes, Morris scored a career-high four goals on Saturday becoming only the 16th player in MLS history to achieve that. But he didn’t even do it from his normal winger position. With Raúl Ruidíaz away on international duty and Héber out injured, Morris returned to the target forward position he played at Stanford and early on in his days with the Sounders and United States national team. His pace and runs in behind caused fits to Sporting’s back line, and he kept instinctually popping up in the right places on crosses, with all four of his goals coming on one-time strikes.
(Still a) Roldan at right back
With Alex Roldan away with El Salvador, older brother Cristian dropped a line deeper from his right wing spot to take over. Cristian had started there three times prior in his career, but not since 2018. Head Coach Brian Schmetzer has always praised Cristian’s versatility and willingness to help the team, and he said after the match that, “Cristian can probably play any position on the field.”
It was a night to remember for 20-year-old midfielder Sota Kitahara, as he made his MLS debut in the 87th minute when he checked in for Roldan. The latest Sounders Homegrown has been a product of the Academy system since he was 13 and is another example of a local talent matriculating through the Academy to Tacoma Defiance to First Team pipeline.
Nicolás Lodeiro recorded his first assist of the season on Saturday when he picked out Morris with a pinpoint cross to the back post. The Sounders captain has been quietly pulling the strings effectively through the first five matches of the season, as leads the Sounders and is tied for fourth in the league with 12 Key Passes.
Ragen’s perfect passing
In addition to his contributions defensively, Jackson Ragen has one of the best ranges of passing of any center back in MLS. His ability to ping balls on a diagonal and split attackers to break lines is as instrumental in the Sounders’ attacking impetus as anything done in the final third. He finished Saturday night a perfect 47 of 47 passing a week after posting a 95.1% passing percentage against LAFC.
Defense shines again
Despite allowing an early goal, one that came off a rebound on a save from Stefan Frei, the Sounders’ defense locked down Sporting KC for the remaining 85 minutes. SKC finished with just 0.4xG and only three shots on target. Seattle is tied with Nashville SC for first in MLS in goals conceded with just two through five matches. The Sounders are also stifling opportunities before they arise, as they’re second in MLS in shots against with 12, first in Duel Percentage at 54% and second in Headed Duel Percentage at 61.4%.
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