The Peruvian forward didn't start Thursday's match, as the Sounders went with a youth-heavy lineup to help tackle fixture congestion and a depleted roster. Instead, he entered as a 54th-minute substitute with the match still scoreless.
Thirteen minutes later, Ruidiaz struck for an AT&T MLS Goal of the Year contender, controlling a deflection off an Austin defender and unleashing a scorching first-time shot from 40 yards out that was placed perfectly over diving Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who had come off his line. The wonder-goal delivered the Sounders all three points, plus moved them back atop the Supporters' Shield standings with 32 points from 15 matches.
It's the continuation of a stellar individual campaign for Ruidiaz, who's currently leading the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi race with 11 goals through 15 games, one clear of LA Galaxy star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.
The Sounders will look to pad their Western Conference lead on Sunday during a big matchup against second-place Sporting Kansas City at Lumen Field (9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.