When the 2021 schedule was released in March, a lot of pens circled this past week.
For the first time in club history, the Sounders had three league matches in a seven-day span. The challenge couldn’t have been greater. Three opponents in three time zones in seven days: Portland, the biggest rivalry in MLS; Dallas, a notoriously tough place to play; and Columbus, who defeated Seattle 3-0 in the 2020 MLS Cup.
For a team that has battled adversity and injuries but prevailed through the first half of the season through the “next man up” mentality, this past week was always going to be the toughest task yet.
Let’s break down everything that happened during this historic week.
Last Sunday was the second edition of the league’s biggest rivalry in 2021, following a 2-1 Seattle road win in May. The second contest provided even more fireworks as the Sounders cruised to a 6-2 win.
For their efforts in the win, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer and Ruidíaz were each named to the Team of the Week, while Montero earned a spot on the bench.
That afternoon Ruidíaz was voted Player of the Week, as well.
To no one’s surprise, Medranda was the runaway winner for Goal of the Week, stealing the show from a Ruidíaz free-kick that finished second.
Medranda’s goal was a technical masterpiece, striking João Paulo’s corner directly out of the hair with a left-footed volley that arrowed into the top corner.
Just a couple weeks after FC Dallas a disappointing 1-1 draw at Lumen Field, the Sounders secured a cathartic 1-0 victory at their place, ending a 10-match winless streak at Toyota Stadium in the MLS Regular Season. A heavily rotated Sounders team enjoyed the better of the play, while Ruidíaz once again provided a moment of magic with a decisive goal just 20 seconds after entering the match in the second half for a 1-0 win.
As if winning Player of the Week twice in one week wasn’t enough, Ruidíaz took home the Goal of the Week award for his picturesque game-winner at FC Dallas.
Seattle wrapped up its three-match road trip on Saturday as they visited reigning MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew. It was a relatively cagey affair for much of the match, with the Rave Green looking the more likely to find a breakthrough.
Columbus took the lead through Bradley Wright-Phillips on a corner kick in the 77th minute. Seattle continued to push forward and eventually found an equalizer from Xavier Arreaga in the 88th minute. One minute and 48 seconds later, Will Bruin grabbed all three points with his first goal of the season, a right-footed curler that flew into the bottom corner for a 2-1 win.
The win marked a new MLS record becoming the first club to win three road matches in seven days. Three other clubs had managed to win three away games in eight days, with the most recent example being Kansas City in 2005. It was the perfect way to cap off a historic week filled with individual and team accolades.