Nicolás Lodeiro scored a pair of first-half penalty kicks in a four-minute span and Raúl Ruidíaz added a late dagger to pace the Seattle Sounders to a 3-0 victory over LAFC at CenturyLink Field on Friday.
Seattle grabbed the opener in the 29th minute, after a penalty kick was awarded on Video Review for a handball in the box on LAFC’s Dejan Jakovich. Lodeiro stepped up to the spot and coolly slotted home the opener to put the Sounders out to the first-half lead.
Then, in a rarely-seen happenstance, the Sounders were awarded another PK just three minutes later when LAFC’s Latif Blessing was whistled for pulling down Yeimar Gómez in front of his own goal, sending Lodeiro to the spot again.
The star Uruguayan made no mistake with the second finish to the opposite side past LAFC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega, giving the Sounders the 2-0 lead on two kicks from the spot inside five minutes.
It would stay 2-0 until the 82nd when Ruidíaz found the dagger off a feed from João Paulo that the Peruvian striker deftly touched to himself before unleashing a powerful left-footed finish into the net, sealing the three points.
MONEY IN THE BANK
You don’t often see two penalty kicks in four minutes, but if you’re ever in that situation, having Lodeiro to send the spot is quite the luxury. The Uruguayan maestro is now a perfect 14-for-14 on penalties in MLS regular season play and absolutely drilled both of his looks on Friday. He's about as dependable as they come in a lot of ways, but that's certainly one of them.
Nicolás Lodeiro PK attempts (MLS regular season):— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) September 19, 2020
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LIGHTS OUT D
Look, LAFC was missing their best player in last year’s MVP Carlos Vela, but shutting this team out is never easy. They still have guys like Diego Rossi, an MVP candidate this year, as well as Uruguayan international Brian Rodríguez and one of the greatest MLS goal-scorers of all time in Bradley Wright-Phillips. On Friday, Seattle’s defense was up to the challenge, with the starting center back duo of Gómez and Xavier Arreaga standing out as particularly sound, as LAFC never really meaningfully troubled Stefan Frei.
THE SQUAD IS ROLLING
The win continues Seattle’s strong form since the MLS restart, as the win moves the team up to 6-2-3 and 21 points, putting them back in first place in the Western Conference for the time being, and they're 4-1-1 since getting back from Orlando. Factor in their blowout of the San Jose Earthquakes in their last match, and Seattle has outscored their opponents 10-1 over their last two matches. Oh, and left back Brad Smith, who was one of the key fixtures of last year’s title run, and midfielder Gustav Svensson are close to rejoining the squad.