Sounders vs. Rapids, bottom line: A fresh start

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders kicked off their 2023 MLS campaign on Sunday night at home against the Colorado Rapids With a 4-0 victory that included a double from Jordan Morris. Thanks to goals from Morris and Cristian Roldan, the Sounders went 2-0 up at the half-time break as they made the best of the chances the team could create against a Rapids side full of fresh talent and promise, but lost some key contributors. .

The second half went much like the first. Less than 10 minutes into the second half, the Sounders looked like they had missed a dangerous counter-kick by being overcomplicated and bland, but when Lalas Abubakar sold it all he could to block a Nico Lodero cross, he sat in the area for Heber to run towards. He scored his first Sounders goal in his MLS debut with the club. Seattle continued to push, getting the fourth from Morris when he volleyed in after a corner kick bounced into the penalty area in the 83rd minute. Liu Zhu almost scored home with a few dangerous kicks, but his pass missed the target by the narrowest of margins. In the end, the Sounders will be happy with a dominant start to the MLS season.

2 ‘- Darren Yabe dribbles past the Sounders defense and hits the crossbar before going out for a goal kick.

4′- João Paulo sends Alex Roldán down the right channel with Cristian for company; Alex cut in his left foot at the top of the box and nails the crossbar for Seattle’s first look.

25′- Goal! It took a few tries, but Cristian Roldan leads Seattle in front after receiving a cross from Jordan Morris on the right to the back post. 1-0 Sounders

45′- Jordan Morris makes it second! Nico Lodero laser-hits it toward the 6-yard box on the half ball, and after it bounces, Morris ducks low to head it home. 2-0

53 ‘- That’s three! Heber adds to the lead, bouncing on a stray ball in the 6-yard box after Lalas Abubakar blocked a ball from Ludero. 3-0

58′- Heber almost catches another! Morris races behind the starboard side to find Heber for the cut, which is almost finished with William Yarbrough’s nutmeg.

67 ‘- Stefan Frey makes a big save in front of Darren Yabe, and stuffs the striker alone in the penalty area.

83 ‘- Jordan Morris again! Lodeiro serves a corner kick that Jackson Ragen connects with, but the ball rebounds before finding Morris at the back post for a home run. 4-0

Earn their extensions: Jordan Morris and Christian Roldan both signed new long-term contracts ahead of this season, and immediately began implementing those deals. They each scored in the first half to take a 2-0 halftime lead, and while neither had any assists, both helped create chances that the other scored. With two players guarding the wings – and even occasionally switching sides – Seattle has skilled chance-makers and goal-scorers in their primes positioned wide for the foreseeable future. Morris added another late on to secure two goals and put a candle to the opening victory.

Joao Paulo is back! Joao Paulo’s absence was acutely felt throughout last season after he crashed out of the CCL final with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. But now it’s back, and Sounders is much better for it. His stats don’t jump off the page – 4 for 9 duels on the ground, 1 chance occurred, 79% passing on 63 attempts – but it’s the timing of his tackles, and the passes he chooses to play that make all the difference. His ability to head off a loose ball or win a challenge and instantly shift his attention forward to pick off a pass for a teammate makes a run that completely unsettles opponents and makes it difficult for the entire Sounders team to defend. His willingness to fully commit to every challenge, every half, whatever is asked of him motivates this team. This Seattle Sounders team can’t function the way they would ideally without him, and now that he’s back, so can the Sounders.

Play to your strengths: The Sounders have a new playing system this season when in possession of the ball, which includes pushing Jordan Morris, Alex and Cristian Roldan up front and shifting Nuhu into a third position role designed to meet the strengths of the team’s best players. These men often get into dangerous situations. Against the never-going Rapids, Colorado’s approach to the game left plenty of opportunities for the Seattle forward in transition or going straight rather than being patient with possession. This approach produced the first three goals of the game, as Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris terrorized the Colorado players and let the defense chase the Rave Green lines around the field.

Heber’s joy for the first time as he finished off the offensive streak.

Looks like Héber will like it here.

4 – The Seattle Sounders scored 4 unassisted goals in their 4-0 victory, a club record.

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