The Seattle Sounders defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 on Tuesday night at Providence Park in Portland, Ore., to clinch their 12th consecutive postseason appearance and jump back into first place in the Western Conference.
Raúl Ruidíaz returned to the starting lineup in a big way, scoring the opener in the 54th minute before setting up Nicolás Lodeiro to double the advantage on the hour mark. Ruidíaz scored a one-timer off a cross from Nouhou, but the Peruvian’s goal was originally called offside before being overturned upon Video Review. Ruidíaz then beat his man to the end line and laid a simple drop pass for Lodeiro, who slotted home a one-timed finish.
Stefan Frei had a quiet night in goal and did not record a save en route to earning his sixth shutout of the season.
The Sounders are now unbeaten against the Whitecaps since April 2017, including the postseason (8-0-3).
The Sounders extend their own Major League Soccer record of 12 consecutive postseason appearances and have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in every year since their inaugural MLS season in 2009. Seattle becomes the first team in the Western Conference to book its playoff ticket and retakes first place in the West with 35 points from 19 matches.
Seattle was buoyed by the return of its three international players, who all stepped back seamlessly into the starting lineup. Ruidíaz (Peru), Gustav Svensson (Sweden) and Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador) missed four MLS matches while away with their respective national teams and a mandatory quarantine period upon return to the United States. The Sounders also saw the return of Joevin Jones, who came on in the second half for his first appearance after missing six matches with an ankle injury.
RUIDÍAZ HAUNTS WHITECAPS
With his goal and assist, Ruidíaz now has five goals and an assist in five starts against the Whitecaps in his MLS career. He brings his season total to 10 goals in just over 1,100 minutes, and reaches double-digit goals for the third consecutive year since signing with Seattle in summer 2018. He’s currently third in the MLS Golden Boot race and will have another shot to add to his total when the Sounders take on the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, Nov. 1 (6 p.m. PT; JOEtv, Prime Video, 1090 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).