The Seattle Sounders left Portland, Ore., on Sunday with an unforgettable 6-2 victory over the Timbers. There was understandably a lot to process, so refresh your memory with 10 main takeaways from the derby win.
Imagine for a moment that you’re Fredy Montero. You unleashed a left-footed curler from outside the box to give the Sounders a 2-0 first-half lead, and that goal was \checks notes\ the third-best goal of the evening?!
The Sounders kept one-upping each other. First, it was Montero. Then, Raúl Ruidíaz scored a laser of a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. Finally, Jimmy Medranda fired in the coup de grâce, a screamer of a volley directly off a corner kick in an MLS Goal of the Year contender to emphatically ice the match.
With rightful respect to the brilliance on the attacking end on Sunday, none of those opportunities would have matter had goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland not kept the match in reach in the first half. He had six huge saves in the opening 45 minutes, limiting the Timbers to just one goal. He finished the match with seven stops and put in an all-time performance in his first Cascadia rivalry match.
Ruidíaz and Montero continue to torment the Sounders’ southern rivals. Ruidíaz now has 10 goals in as many career matches against the Timbers, which is tied with Roger Levesque for the most in club history. Montero has three goals in two matches against Portland this season, including the match-winner in May, and has nine career tallies against the Timbers.
Ruidíaz Golden Boot
Ruidíaz had been briefly dethroned atop the MLS Golden Boot standings, as the New England Revolution’s Gustavo Bou scored his 12th goal of the season on Saturday. Ruidíaz’s brace leapfrogged him back into first place with 13, a career high already in Rave Green with still 15 matches remaining.
João Paulo Assists
Courtesy of two helpers on Sunday, João Paulo is now in sole possession of second place for the MLS assist lead with eight. He’s behind only the New England Revolution’s Carles Gil.
The Roldan Effect™️
One of the craziest stats of the year is that Cristian Roldan is unbeaten in 21 total matches this season for club and country. The 2021 MLS All-Star is 8-0-6 with the Sounders in MLS play, 1-0-0 with Seattle in the Leagues Cup and 6-0-0 with the United States national team, including a Concacaf Gold Cup title.
Nicolás Lodeiro came on at halftime on Sunday as he continues to work his way back to full fitness following a lengthy sideline spell while recovering from knee surgery. It’s no coincidence that his entrance aligned with the Sounders’ second-half onslaught, and his impactful return should bode well for Seattle the rest of the season and beyond.
New signing Nicolas Benezet needed just seven minutes to open his Sounders account, as he slotted home a stoppage-time breakaway goal to cap the scoring. The veteran Frenchman has the skill and savvy to be a useful weapon for Head Coach Brian Schmetzer down the stretch run of the campaign.
Success in PDX
Providence Park was once a house of horrors for Seattle, but the Sounders have now won five of the last six regular-season meetings at Portland.
The Sounders’ fifth road win of the season is third in MLS, and they have as many or more away wins than 11 MLS teams have total victories. Seattle’s road Points Per Game (2.13) is actually higher than at Lumen Field (1.73).