Behind a second-half brace from Raul Ruidiaz, a Joao Paulo wondergoal and a dream return for Fredy Montero, the Seattle Sounders opened their 2021 MLS season on Friday night with an emphatic 4-0 win over Minnesota United FC at Lumen Field.

Joao Paulo gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute, sending home a thunderbolt from 25 yards out in an early-season AT&T Goal of the Year candidate. The Brazilian midfielder cushioned a cleared cross with one touch, then rifled a right-footed volley to the top corner.

Seattle doubled their advantage in the 70th minute, with Will Bruin squaring across for a one-timed effort from Ruidiaz that established a 2-0 advantage. Bruin spun Minnesota center back Brent Kallman after an entry pass, then unselfishly found his strike partner for a collected finish.

Ruidiaz found his brace for a 3-0 lead in the 73rd minute, this time knocking in a left-footed shot after Cristian Roldan squared across goal. Roldan was picked out via a scooped pass from substitute Montero, quickly turning space into a second tally in three minutes.

Montero, Seattle's all-time leading goalscorer, scored on his Sounders' return after nine years away in the 86th minute for the 4-0 lead. The Colombian striker laced home a relaxed volley back across goal after right back Alex Roldan picked him out on the far side.

While Seattle poured on the second-half goals, they could have opened the floodgates in the 29th minute. But Ruidiaz’s penalty kick was denied by Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair after midfielder Wil Trapp was whistled for a handball in the 18-yard box.

The Loons, though, had opportunities to change the game’s complexion. Robin Lod’s shot in the 36th minute rifled off the near post with the chance to put the visitors in front. Then Kallman’s free-kick header in the 51st minute was cleared off the line by Cristian Roldan, denying an effort that would have equalized at 1-1.

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Goals

  • 49' – SEA – Joao Paulo | WATCH
  • 70' – SEA – Raul Ruidiaz | WATCH
  • 73' – SEA – Raul Ruidiaz | WATCH
  • 86' – SEA – Fredy Montero | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Seattle entered the 2021 season facing plenty of questions, especially with Jordan Morris out long-term with an ACL injury and star midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro carrying a preseason knock. Add in their shift to a three center-back system, and concerns about the 2020 MLS Cup finalist only increased. But perhaps those doubts were over-inflated, as Seattle put the game out of reach and reminded everyone why they’re a Western Conference powerhouse. In the process, it spoiled Ramon “Wanchope” Abila’s debut for Minnesota.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Go ahead and put this Joao Paulo golazo on repeat. We won’t blame you one bit.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Raul Ruidiaz was a late preseason arrival for Seattle while he obtained his green card. You would hardly have known, as the 30-year-old scored twice and reinforced his quality.

Next up

  • SEA: Saturday, April 24 at LAFC | 6 pm ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
  • MIN: Saturday, April 24 vs. Real Salt Lake | 8 pm ET (MLS LIVE in ESPN+)

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