Two of Major League Soccer's top talismans traded goals Sunday at Lumen Field, with Raul Ruidiaz scoring early and Josef Martinez equalizing late as the Seattle Sounders and Atlanta United shared the points in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Atlanta United FC | May 23, 2021
Ruidiaz scored his sixth goal of the season to give the undefeated Sounders (5-0-2) a lead in the sixth minute. The Peruvian hitman connected with Joao Paulo’s out-swinging corner kick and headed past a rooted Brad Guzan.
In the 38th minute, Nouhou made a tremendous defensive play to deny what surely would have been a Martinez equalizer, making a diving stab to intercept Brooks Lennon’s pass. It was the highlight of a solid defensive performance from the young Cameroonian.
Atlanta (2-1-3) pressed for the equalizer after halftime and Martinez had a golden chance in the 67th minute, but the former Golden Boot winner sent his free kick from 28 yards out well over the crossbar.
The Venezuelan, though, wouldn't miss from the penalty spot four minutes from full time, burying his second goal of the season after Brad Smith tripped Lennon in the box.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Sounders remain unbeaten on the season and are off to the best start in club history, but they’ll surely rue a pair of lost points in what was a sloppy second half by Seattle's standards. Atlanta were rewarded for their second-half prodding and Josef went back into the time machine for another unstoppable PK. It was the second straight match ATLUTD struck late as they moved up to third in the East.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Speaking of which, this is why the Five Stripes were the first team this season to score and take a point from the Sounders at Lumen Field.
PK GOAL: Josef Martínez, Atlanta United FC - 86th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: The Sounders conceded the late equalizer, but Nouhou was spectacular throughout. Arguably the most entertaining defender in MLS, Nouhou won 11 duels, completed 81.8 percent of his passes, had three tackles and made this stunning first-half interception.
INTERCEPTION: Nouhou Tolo, Seattle Sounders FC - 38th minute
- SEA: Sunday, May 30 vs. Austin FC | 9:30 pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes | MLS regular season
- ATL: Saturday, May 29 vs. Nashville SC | 3:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ | MLS regular season