Raul Ruidiaz scored a brace in the second half and Kelvin Leerdam added the late insurance, sending the Seattle Sounders to a massive 3-0 victory over the Portland Timbers in the Cascadia derby between the sides at Providence Park on Sunday.
The match was sluggish for much of the night, particularly in the first half, as neither attack seemed to be in sync. But Ruidiaz's redirected finish off an assist from Joevin Jones set the Sounders on their way to three unanswered goals to turn it into a rout late.
The Timbers thought they were off to a dream start just five minutes after kickoff, when a free kick from Diego Valeri popped out to Chris Duvall at the top of the area, allowing the defender to lash home a screamer. But Portland midfielder Eryk Williamson, who was the first to touch the ball, was deemed just offside on video review, taking the goal off the board.
Valeri had Portland's other best look at the opener in the first half just before the halftime whistle, when Sebastian Blanco found him with a cross in front of goal, but the star midfielder put the attempt over the bar to keep the contest in a 0-0 deadlock at the break.
Ruidiaz would finally find Seattle's breakthrough, though, in the 72nd minute with a cheekily redirected finish off a Jones cross that the Peruvian somehow managed to squeak by Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark to give the visitors the second-half lead.
Blanco nearly equalized just three minutes later, but Stefan Frei managed to sprawl out to deny a close-range effort from the MLS is Back Player of the Tournament.
The Timbers would pay for the missed opportunity, as Ruidiaz added another in the 83rd minute when substitute Will Bruin flicked a long goal kick from Frei into the path of the star striker, who made it 2-0 with a chipped finish past Clark. Leerdam then finished it off two minutes later, slotting home the finish at the end of another sequence spearheaded by Bruin and Ruidiaz to round out the 3-0 final.
THE BIG PICTURE:
That's a huge three points for the Sounders, and this performance was no doubt cathartic after their disappointing exit from the MLS is Back Tournament. The Timbers are the most recent MLS team to lift a trophy, but Seattle made a statement in this one that they're still the team that has won two out of the last four MLS Cup titles.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Ruidiaz is one of the more lethal strikers in the league no matter who he's playing, but the man loves scoring against the Timbers. Sunday's brace gives him seven career goals in five matches against his club's arch-rival.