SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC (1-0-0, 3 points) began its 2023 Major League Soccer campaign with a bang Sunday evening, defeating the Colorado Rapids (0-1-0, 0 points) 4-0 on the Emerald Queen Casino Pitch at Lumen Field. Jordan Morris scored a brace, with Cristian Roldan and newcomer Héber adding goals as the Rave Green opened their 15th regular-season campaign with a decisive shutout win.
Roldan opened Seattle’s 2023 scoring account in the 25th minute. After his initial header off a Morris cross was parried away by Colorado’s William Yarbrough, Roldan’s follow-up header deflected off the hands of Yarbrough and into the back of the net to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Morris doubled the Rave Green’s lead in the dying minutes of the first half, chesting a Nicolás Lodeiro cross into a defender before diving to head the ensuing rebound across the line for Seattle’s second goal of the night.
Seattle’s newest acquisition, Héber, got his first Sounders FC goal in the 53rd minute. After a nice piece of buildup play, Lodeiro took the ball to the right side of the area, firing in a cross that took a deflection off a Colorado defender right to the feet of Héber, who hammered home the rebound off the post and into the net.
Sounders FC added one more tally in the 83rd minute, with Morris scoring with his head once again. Lodeiro sent a corner kick into the area, with the ball taking a few deflections before Morris found the finishing touch, sending the ball into the top corner of the net. It was Morris’s first multi-goal game since August 30, 2020 against LAFC.
Sunday’s match marked Seattle's second competitive fixture of 2023, with the club losing to Egyptian side Al Ahly 1-0 on February 4 in the Second Round of the FIFA Club World in Morocco. Seattle remains home to face Real Salt Lake next Saturday, March 4 at Lumen Field (7:30 p.m. PT / Apple TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
- With tonight’s victory, Sounders FC is now 9-6-0 all-time in MLS season-openers.
- Seattle Head Coach Brian Schmetzer moves to 4-3-0 in MLS season-openers dating back to 2017, his first full season as Sounders FC Head Coach in Major League Soccer.
- Sounders FC has won 16 of its 19 home matches against Colorado in MLS play, including the MLS Cup Playoffs. Tonight’s victory marks seven wins in a row for the Rave Green over the Rapids at Lumen Field.
- Seattle’s 84 percent winning percentage at home against the Rapids is the highest in MLS history among fixtures that have been played at least 10 times.
- With his goal in 25th minute of play, Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan now has 37 career goals for the Rave Green dating back to his 2015 rookie season (all competitions). In MLS play, the University of Washington product has 33 goals in MLS regular-season play.
- Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris bagged his 53rd career goal for Seattle just before the halftime whistle, then added a second strike in the 83rd minute of play for his 54th. The Mercer Island native ranks fifth all-time in scoring for his hometown club, two behind club captain Nico Lodeiro for fourth place.
- New offseason signing Héber netted Seattle’s third goal in the 53rd minute of play, his first strike for the Rave Green in his MLS debut for Seattle. The Brazilian now has 27 goals in league play for Seattle and New York City FC (regular-season and MLS Cup Playoffs).
- Seattle midfielder João Paulo started his first match for Sounders FC since May of last season. The Brazilian suffered a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his right knee on May 4, 2022 in Seattle’s continental championship-clinching win over Liga MX’s Pumas.
- With his start tonight, João Paul now has 75 appearances for Seattle across all competitions since joining the club prior to the 2020 season.
- Goalkeeper Stefan Frei made two saves on Sunday evening, recording his first shutout of the season. With 92 career clean sheets, Frei ranks third all-time behind Nick Rimando (154) and Kevin Hartman (112).
- Head Coach Brian Schmetzer deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation in his first starting XI of the 2023 MLS season. Stefan Frei led a backline composed of Alex Roldan, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Jackson Ragen and Nouhou, with João Paulo and Albert Rusnák anchoring central midfield. Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro and Jordan Morris led the attack, with Héber making his first start at forward.
Seattle Sounders FC 4 – Colorado Rapids 0
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Venue: Emerald Queen Casino Pitch at Lumen Field
Referee: Alex Chilowicz
Assistants: Ian Anderson, Chris Elliott
Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic
Weather: 40 degrees and clear
SEA – Cristian Roldan 25’
SEA – Jordan Morris 45’
SEA – Héber 53’
SEA – Jordan Morris 83’
COL – Kévin Cabral (caution) 87’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan, Yeimar, Jackson Ragen, Nouhou; João Paulo (Josh Atencio 80’), Albert Rusnák (Danny Leyva 85’), Cristian Roldan (Léo Chú 71’), Nico Lodeiro – captain, Jordan Morris (Dylan Teves 85’); Héber (Fredy Montero 71’)
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Xavier Arreaga, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Reed Baker-Whiting, Kelyn Rowe
Total shots: 15
Shots on goal: 9
Colorado Rapids – William Yarbrough; Keegan Rosenberry (Danny Wilson 71’), Andreas Maxsø, Lalas Abubakar, Alex Gersbach; Connor Ronan, Cole Bassett, Sam Nicholson (Braian Galván 83’), Ralph Priso (Max 80’); Michael Barrios (Kévin Cabral 71’), Darren Yapi
Substitutes not used: Jack Price, Bryan Acosta, Abraham Rodriguez, Steven Beitashour, Moise Bombito
Total shots: 10
Shots on goal: 2
- SOUNDERS FC –