Cristian Roldan waited quite a long time to join the 2020 scoring sheet for Sounders FC, but when he finally marked his name on that list, he put in sharpie, all-caps, and with an exclamation point.
In the 12th minute of Sunday night's 3-1 win down in Los Angeles against the Galaxy, Roldan tapped in an excellently placed Jordan Morris cross to the back post past goalkeeper David Bingham. Roldan struck again in the 61st minute when Joao Paulo found the University of Washington product on a long, looping ball into the Galaxy final third. Roldan's perfect first touch set up a chipped-shot over Bingham and into the back of the net, clinching Seattle's road victory.
Jordan Morris added a goal in the 38th minute as well when Nicolas Lodeiro (somehow) saw a running Jordan Morris 50 yards across the field and hit a pinpoint cross-field pass that caught the Mercer Island native in stride. Morris clinically put the ball past Bingham, giving Seattle a 2-0 lead at the half.
The Galaxy would score a late goal by midfielder Sebastian Lleget, but the Sounders' big win and three points moves the club back up to first place in the MLS Western Conference after Portland jumped Seattle with a 1-0 win over Vancouver thirty minutes before the final whistle sounded in Los Angeles. The Rave Green will now prepare to face those same Whitecaps next Saturday, October 3, at 7:00 p.m. in CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders played without Joevin Jones on Sunday as the left back and right winger missed his first match after suffering a high ankle sprain on Wednesday in Portland. The club also started Will Bruin at forward, in lieu of star striker Raul Ruidiaz, who served a one-game suspension for violent conduct in that Timbers match.
Ruidiaz may return next week, but the club could be without Jones for 4-6 weeks, a typical timetable to return from a high ankle sprain. At left back, Seattle has major reinforcements on the way in the form of Brad Smith, a 26-year-old Australian speedster who helped the Sounders win their second MLS Cup in 2019. Smith entered Sunday's match in the 69th minute, looking to build back his match fitness after having not started a professional soccer match in the last ten months.
Alex Roldan, Jordy Delem, Shane O'Neill and Miguel Ibarra also saw time for Seattle off the bench in the 3-1 win. Ibarra entered in the 82nd minute after an apparent injury to Sunday's starter at left back, Nouhou, who recorded his third career assist on Seattle's first goal, springing Morris down the left wing.
Whether it's Smith or Nouhou starting next Saturday against Vancouver, the majority of the Sounders should be healthy and rested, looking to create some ground between the Rave Green and the second place Portland Timbers in the table.
Check out highlights from the 3-1 win in Los Angeles below, plus KJR's Postgame Show with Pete Fewing and Jackson Felts breaking down the action!