Without Raúl Ruidíaz, Seattle Sounders defeat Real Salt Lake

Seattle Sounders FC

Seattle, Washington (April 6, 2019) — This past week, Will Bruin prepared his body to compete for 90 minutes of action. The Sounders didn’t have a mid-week match, but Bruin did. He was one of six players to feature for the Tacoma Defiance this weekend.

Without Raúl Ruidíaz, Seattle Sounders defeat Real Salt Lake

Why? The Sounders elected to sign six players to the MLS-USL loan agreement. The purpose was to get players minutes that aren’t seeing action in first-team matches. Tacoma is Seattle’s USL affiliate, formerly known as the Sounders 2.

Bruin scored one goal and provided an assist on Monday night’s match. His work was not unnoticed by Sounders manager Brian Schmetzer. With Raúl Ruidíaz missing Saturday night’s match against Real Salt Lake with a right heel contusion, Bruin earned the start. Meanwhile, Ruidíaz’ injury comes off the brink of the Vancouver Whitecaps match.

Bruin had a strong 73 minutes against Real Salt Lake.

The biggest difference between putting Bruin up top over Ruidíaz is his height. Bruin stands tall at 6’2, while Ruidíaz only tallies a height of 5’7. Bruin used his height against Real Salt Lake, putting a few headers around the goal area. However, he finished the night with one shot, which registered on goal.

The star of the show for Seattle was Nicolas Lodeiro. The Sounders captain knocked a ball off a Cristian Roldan cross on his first touch. His goal was the lone tally for the Sounders.

Seattle had more attempts on goal, registering three out of their 11 shots on goal. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando — who announced he’ll be retiring after this season — made saves against Víctor Rodríguez and Bruin.

As for Real Salt Lake, Jefferson Savarino led the team with two shots on goal. However, neither were a threat to Stefan Frei, who finished the night with four saves.

Three Takeaways 

  1. Kelvin Leerdam was the unsung hero: For the first few attempts that Seattle had with creating plays, Kelvin Leerdam was part of them. When he wasn’t rushing up top to help with offensive needs, Leerdam was a beast on defense. He helped contain powerful Real Salt Lake players, like Savarino and Corey Baird. It looked like Leerdam was everywhere on the pitch tonight.
  2. Roldan’s close attempt: Still looking for his first goal of 2019, Cristian Roldan came extremely close to doubling Seattle’s lead late in the second half. Roldan smacked what would have been a screamer goal. However, it went just above Rimando’s crossbar. Seattle settled with one goal for a victory.
  3. The short week: Seattle won’t have much time to rest and recover. This could potentially hurt the team, given the lack of depth. The Tacoma Defiance have a Wednesday match, the same day as Seattle, so don’t expect many first-team roster players to feature in the USL match. Seattle is going to need all their forces ready to go for the quick turnaround.

What’s Next?

As mentioned, the Sounders have a short week.

After hosting the Colorado Rapids earlier this season, and defeating the struggling Western Conference club, the Sounders will be heading a bit west. At DICK’S Sporting Goods Park, the Sounders will look to continue their unbeaten streak against Colorado. In this season’s first meet up, Seattle claimed the 2-0 victory with goals from Ruidíaz and Leerdam.

Wednesday’s match is slated for a 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET kick off.

PHOTO: Nicolas Lodeiro celebrates his goal against Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, April 6. Photo courtesy of Charis Wilson/Seattle Sounders FC.