After missing a penalty kick in the first half Sounders FC talisman Raul Ruidiaz atoned for his transgression by scoring two second-half goals to lead the Rave Green to a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Loons. Joining Ruidiaz in the goal-fest were Joao Paulo and Freddy Montero.
The last time the two teams met was in last year’s Western Conference Finals with the Sounders advancing to the MLS Cup after overcoming a dramatic two-goal deficit late in the second half and advancing with a 3-2 win. With revenge on their minds, the Loons were more focused on exerting physical punishment than playing technical soccer. With the Sounders not about to back down to anyone the first half was a chippy, discombobulated shoving match.
The choppiness of the first half saw the Sounders register just three shots on goal one of which was the penalty. Minnesota recorded just one shot on goal in the first half.
DETERMINED TO PLAY SOCCER IN THE SECOND HALF
After the break, the Sounders looked more committed to the task at hand which is to score more goals than your opponent. As soon as the half began the Sounders went on the offensive. The Rave Green attacked the Loons right side and nearly scored in the 48th minute when Cristian Roldan crossed the ball to Brad Smith, who was nearly six yards out. The Sounder’s persistence paid off three minutes late when Joao Paulo’s left-footed volley found the back of the Loons net for the 1-0 lead.
WINNING THE LOOSE BALLS
The success of the first goal gave the Sounders more determination to increase the offensive pressure against Minnesota. The Sounders played aggressive defensive up and down the pitch and enabled them to win the possession battle. With more possession, the Sounders were able to get the ball upfield to the forwards who were making runs towards the Loons goal. A tired and worn-out Minnesota backline was unable to keep up with the Sounders forward.
BRACE TO OPEN THE FLOOD GATES
With the Loons backline on its backfoot Ruidiaz went to work. His runs inside the Loons goal box found him open and the talisman scored back-to-back goals in the 70th and 73rd minute to seal the win for the Sounders. After replacing Will Bruin in the 70th minute Freddy Montero completed the scoring fest with a goal in the 85th minute.