For the first time in front of home fans in over a year, Seattle Sounders FC (1-0-0, 3 points) opened its 2021 MLS season with a 4-0 victory over Minnesota United at Lumen Field (0-1-0, 0 points). All goals were scored in the second half of play, courtesy of a brace from Raúl Ruidíaz and additional tallies from João Paulo and Fredy Montero. With a limited capacity crowd of 7,042 on-hand due to health and safety limitations, Sounders FC heard the support of its home fans for the first time since March 7, 2020 when the pandemic began.
MEDIA NOTE: Prior to tonight’s contest, players from both clubs gathered to honor Daunte Wright and to raise awareness for racial injustice following this week’s occurrences in suburban Minneapolis. In addition to wearing custom jersey patches and black armbands, the two sides gathered for a group photo before kickoff in a show of unity. That image is added in the photo gallery listed below, and the club issued a statement on the players’ decision earlier in the evening.
Following tonight’s win, Seattle improves to 8-5-0 all-time in MLS openers, and now owns an unbeaten 7-0-1 mark over Minnesota. The Rave Green hit the road for the first time on Saturday, April 24, with a nationally televised match at Los Angeles FC on ESPN. Kickoff for that match is slated for 3:00 p.m. PT.
- MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: https://sndrs.com/8ar3bf
- PHOTOS – IMAGES FOR MEDIA USE: https://sndrs.com/p5n5ef
- VIDEO – RUIDÍAZ & JOÃO PAULO PRESS CONFERENCE: https://sndrs.com/luhgz3
- Sounders FC is 8-5-0 all-time in MLS regular season openers. Tonight marked the 12th time in 13 seasons that Seattle has hosted a season opener.
- The Rave Green are 7-0-1 against the Loons in MLS action (including postseason play). The two sides last met in the 2020 Western Conference Final, with Sounders FC earning a 3-2 comeback victory to advance to MLS Cup.
- João Paulo’s sensational opening strike was his fifth goal for Sounders FC across all competitions after signing last offseason. The Brazilian scored twice in last season in both MLS and Concacaf Champions League action.
- Ruidíaz’s brace gives him 44 goals in 64 MLS appearances (including playoffs), putting him at a 0.74 goals per 90 minutes scoring rate. It marked the Peruvian’s eighth multi-goal game with the Rave Green.
- Fredy Montero scored his first goal since re-signing with Sounders FC this offseason, giving him 48 regular-season goals with the club, passing Clint Dempsey for the most in club history.
- Midfielder Josh Atencio made his first career start for Sounders FC, logging 90 minutes in midfield alongside Cristian Roldan and João Paulo. The Homegrown Player recorded five appearances as a substitute in 2020.
- Midfielder Kelyn Rowe made his Sounders FC debut, coming on a substitute in the 77th minute. The Federal Way native signed this offseason after nine seasons with the New England Revolution, Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake.
- Brian Schmetzer debuted the club’s 3-5-2 formation on Friday, with Will Bruin starting up top alongside Ruidíaz. Alex Roldan and Brad Smith lined up as the wingbacks, flanking the three-man backline of Xavier Arreaga, Shane O’Neill and Nouhou.
Seattle Sounders FC 4 – Minnesota United FC 0
Friday, April 16, 2021
Venue: Lumen Field
Referee: Joseph Dickerson
Assistants: Jeremy Hanson, Mike Rottersman
Fourth Official: Timothy Ford
VAR: Jon Freemon
Attendance: 7,042 (limited capacity)
Weather: 70 degrees and clear
SEA – João Paulo 49’
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (Will Bruin) 70’
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (Cristian Roldan) 73’
SEA – Fredy Montero (Alex Roldan) 86’
MIN – Emanuel Reynoso (caution) 32’
SEA – Xavier Arreaga (caution) 44’
SEA – João Paulo (caution) 54’
MIN – Chase Gasper (caution) 76’
SEA – Cristian Roldan (caution) 90’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan, Shane O’Neill, Xavier Arreaga (Yeimar 77’), Nouhou, Brad Smith (Ethan Dobbelaere 82’); João Paulo (Kelyn Rower 77’), Josh Atencio, Cristian Roldan; Will Bruin (Fredy Montero 71’), Raúl Ruidíaz
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Jordy Delem, Danny Leyva
Total shots: 17 (Ruidiaz, 7)
Shots on goal: 9 (Ruidiaz, 5)
Fouls: 13 (João Paulo, 4)
Saves: 4 (Frei, 4)
Minnesota United FC – Dayne St. Clair; Michael Boxall, Brent Kallman (Jukka Raitala 80’), Romain Metanire, Chase Gasper; Jan Gregus (Osvaldo Alonso 79’), Robin Lod, Emanuel Reynoso, Ethan Finlay (Ramon Abila, 65’), Wil Trapp; Hassani Dotson (Justin McMaster 81’)
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Juan Agudelo, Jacori Hayes, D.J. Taylor, Nabilai Kibunguchy
Total shots: 17 (Reynoso, 5)
Shots on goal: 5 (Five players, 1)
Fouls: 19 (Boxall/Reynoso, 4)
Saves: 5 (St. Clair, 5)