Seattle Sounders steamroll Minnesota United in opening match, 4-0

Seattle Sounders MLS Fredy Montero

The Seattle Sounders opened up their MLS season with a bang. Kicking off the first night of MLS action, the Sounders hosted Minnesota United at Lumen Field, posting a 4-0 victory. Fredy Montero scored to put him at 48 Sounders goals, Raúl Ruidíaz scored a brace — after originally missing a penalty in the first half — and João Paulo scored a banger.

The Sounders steamrolled Minnesota United, with all goals coming in the second half of action. Stefan Frei recorded a clean sheet in his first match of 2021. Head coach Brian Schmetzer said that all four goals scored had a particular class to them. His favorite, though, was Fredy Montero’s, in his return back to the Sounders.

“All of the goals were very high quality,” Schmetzer said. “I do have a soft spot in my heart for Fredy Montero. That was a just reward for him coming back to Seattle, working hard in preseason and coming into the game and changing the game. When Fredy comes on, you saw the quality that he has. For me, probably that one, with a little bit of reminiscing of how he scored the first goal of this franchise in MLS history.”

Paulo’s goal was the most notable, with the Brazilian hitting a rocket off a volley. After the match, João Paulo said that he felt “a good opportunity” when striking the ball.

“I knew I wanted to shoot it,” João Paulo said, via a translator. “I controlled, preparing for the shot, and I felt if it wasn’t going to go into the goal, it was going to be close, because I felt good about how I hit it.”

Then, in the 70th minute, Ruidíaz scored his first of the evening. His second goal came only three minutes later.

Ruidíaz said that, after originally missing a penalty in the first half — which was saved by Dayne St. Clair — he felt confident in finding a goal against Minnesota.

“I felt that I kept my composure so I could focus in the game,” Ruidíaz said. “It helped out, and I was able to score the other goals. This is my second game with the team. As games continue to progress, I’ll be able to improve on being effective.”

Both players said that Schmetzer kept calm in the locker room, and told his team to trust the new formation, which included a three-person backline. João Paulo said that, on offense, there was no particular “recipe” to the Sounders success.

“We just started to connect better with simple moves, helping and finding our teammates,” João Paulo said. “Then, we started to build the play. We have players up front that are very strong with technique and conclusion. We know that when we build a play and move like that, we can be dangerous.”

Sounders welcome fans back at Lumen Field

Ruidíaz, João Paulo and the rest of the Sounders saw a welcome sight in Lumen Field. Fans graced the stands for the first time since the 2019 MLS Cup Final. While the Sounders only had a limited capacity of fans, they made their presence known. Ruidíaz said it was “important” for the team to feel the fans’ support.

“I feel very happy to have our fans back at home,” Ruidíaz said. “It was important to feel their support. I’m also happy, as well, that little by little we’re going to get more people into the stadium and the support is going to go.”

“On my end, the atmosphere was great,” João Paulo stated. “We felt the presence of the fans and felt they were on our side. That helped to get the result.”

What’s Next?

The Sounders will head down south to face Los Angeles FC, with the two reigniting their rivalry, on Saturday. The match will begin at 6 p.m. EST/3 p.m. PT on ESPN.

Minnesota United will aim for their first win against Real Salt Lake on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.