Brian Schmetzer had plenty of reasons to smile Saturday night.
“It was a very, very enjoyable evening for me tonight,” a joyous Schmetzer said in his post-match press conference.
The Sounders claimed a 2-1 road win over the LA Galaxy with Ruidiaz, who didn’t get called up by Peru for Copa America after featuring during World Cup qualifying, scoring the decisive goal early in the second half. The goal, his seventh of the season, puts Ruidiaz level with Chicharito atop the league. It was also Ruidiaz’s seventh goal in seven career regular season matches against the Galaxy, passing Cristian Roldan for the most goals in club history against LA.
“Chicharito’s a tremendous player. Raul is a tremendous player,” Schmetzer said. “Raul came back from Peru to be with us. We’re very happy about that. It puts a smile on my face. The fact he scored the winning goal puts a smile on my face.”
Schmetzer said the Sounders utilized the same game plan against Chicharito as they did in a 3-0 win at Lumen Field on May 2 — deny the Mexican legend service. As a result, Chicharito was goalless against the Sounders again and Seattle extended a season-long shutout streak in the run of play.
“Stef Cleveland really deserves a lot of credit,” Frei said. “I thought not just the one or two saves, but his overall handling of pressure moments was very, very good tonight. So yes, he’s growing, he’s a good young goalkeeper, good reactions, good saves, but what I liked was his mentality to manage the game. It was very, very good tonight.”
The result keeps the Sounders one point ahead of the New England Revolution in the Supporters’ Shield race and continues the greatest start of the season in club history.
More reasons for Schmetzer to smile Saturday night.
“It’s a great coaching staff, changing the formation, getting the players to believe in that formation, getting them to execute that formation,” said Schmetzer, who also lauded the play of 21-year-old Abdoulaye Cissoko, filling in for the injured Nouhou. “I’m proud of a lot of things with the club. … You guys can write a story about the 6-0-3 start, its our best start in team history and it’s been pretty darn good.”