HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle Sounders FC vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC | July 21, 2018

SEATTLE — Welcome to Major League Soccer, Raúl Ruidíaz.

The Seattle Sounders’ latest Designated Player at last made his debut on Saturday in a 2-0 win over the rival Vancouver Whitecaps when he came on as a second-half substitute. Ruidíaz entered in the 61st minute for Will Bruin and looked dangerous in the attacking third over the final half hour.

“I was very happy, I was looking forward to playing in this beautiful league,” said Ruidíaz through a translator. “It was a very good feeling to have all these people coming and making all the noise they made. I knew there was going to be a lot of people coming to this game, so it was a very good feeling. It filled me with motivation to do good things during the game.”

There was a plethora of Peruvian fans in attendance to cheer on their countryman, who made his second appearance on the matchday roster after being an unused substitute last weekend in Atlanta. Ruidíaz was flattered by the support and wanted to make them proud.

“From the minute that I actually came into the pitch, when I was warming up, there were Peruvians fans all around,” said Ruidíaz. “Especially when I came to the field, I saw on the north side of the stadium, there was a big crowd of Peruvians, so I was very happy for that.”

Welcome to MLS, Raúl Ruidíaz: Latest Seattle Sounders Designated Player shows promising signs in debut -

Raúl Ruidíaz (left) high-fives Nicolás Lodeiro in Ruidíaz’s team debut on Saturday | USA Today Sports

Ruidíaz nearly opened his account just seven minutes onto the pitch when a beautiful through ball from Nicolás Lodeiro sprung Ruidíaz through on goal, but his shot was saved by Stefan Marinović. Although he didn’t find the back of the net, there was plenty to be excited about moving forward for a player who scored 40 goals in the last two years with Liga MX’s Morelia.

“He’s a talented player,” Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said of Ruidíaz. “He’s good on the ball. You guys saw his technical ability is very clean. His ability to in certain moments to connect passes. He’s goal-dangerous, some of his movements in the box, even though he didn’t get the ball, is good. Overall, very pleased with the way his debut started.”

Added defender Kelvin Leerdam: “Everybody could hear how excited the fans were when [Ruidíaz] entered the game. It’s a new signing. Everyone needs to get adjusted to him on the pitch, but you try to learn as much at training as you can about him. I know that he likes to shoot a lot.”

Saturday was the first of three matches in nine days for the Sounders, so there will be plenty of chances for Ruidíaz to score his first MLS goal coming up, starting with an away match at the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).

“[This league is] going to demand that I’m always 100 percent so that I can achieve the goals that I want for me and for the team,” said Ruidíaz. “Thankfully, I was able to make my debut today, and I’m very happy for that, but I want to continue to work very hard so I can continue to keep having these opportunities in the future.”

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