Seattle Sounders FC have been remarkably consistent since joining the league in 2009, making the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in 13 consecutive seasons.
But when Nicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz both score in a game, the Rave Green are simply unbeatable. The Sounders are now 14W-0L-0D across all competitions when that happens after both scored in Tuesday night's 4-0 rout of rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Lumen Field.
“When those two guys are cooking, we’re cooking,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said postgame.
Lodeiro, who played a deeper role in the Sounders midfield, next to homegrown No. 6 Obed Vargas, put the hosts in front on a 5th-minute penalty kick. He now has 52 goals across all competitions in Rave Green, good for fourth in club history.
It was an unfamiliar role for the Uruguayan Designated Player, but one he excelled in on the night. Lodeiro, Seattle's captain, has traditionally played as a No. 10 since arriving in 2016 from Boca Juniors.
"We all know Nico likes to touch the ball. He always likes to get as many touches on the ball as he can during games, so that fits his personality,” Schmetzer said of the 33-year-old. "It also is good for me because when Nico plays a little bit deeper, sometimes our play from back to front is a little bit better because Nico is not afraid to get the ball in tight spots, he’s able to turn out, he's able to connect passes to the next line.”
Ruidiaz doubled the lead in the 28th minute and had his brace in the 54th minute to give the Sounders a commanding 3-0 lead before leaving the match as a precaution with hamstring tightness 10 minutes later.
The Peruvian forward now has 69 career goals across all competitions since joining the Sounders in 2018 from Liga MX. He’s four goals behind Fredy Montero on the club’s all-time list.
Ruidiaz has also been a Whitecaps killer during his time in Rave Green – no player has more than his eight goals against Vancouver since he joined the club from Morelia.
Schmetzer said there was no added motivation for Ruidiaz to score after not being called into the Peru squad for the inter-continental playoff against Australia, a match La Blanquirroja lost on penalty kicks as the Socceroos claimed one of the final two Qatar 2022 World Cup berths.
“I think Raul is hungry for goals all the time,” Schmetzer said of the 31-year-old DP. “I don’t think he has a special message for the coach. I think Raul is always looking to try and score.”
Seattle, historic Concacaf Champions League winners earlier this May, are now up to seventh place in the Western Conference standings after a sluggish start to their 2022 campaign while juggling the continental tournament.
They return to action Saturday (3 pm ET | ABC, ESPN Deportes) when hosting Supporters’ Shield leaders LAFC, having won four of their past six games.