SEATTLE, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC opened its 2019 Major League Soccer season with a dominant 4-1 victory over expansion side FC Cincinnati, as Seattle native Jordan Morris marked his return from a long-term injury with an explosive two-goal performance in the first half of play. Morris’ brace was bookended by goals from fullback Kelvin Leerdam and striker Raúl Ruidíaz, as Sounders FC set a club record for goals in a MLS season opener.
Jordan Morris, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, scored two goals in his return to MLS action on Saturday evening in a 4-1 Seattle win over FC Cincinnati (Mike Fiechtner / Seattle Sounders FC).
Of note, Sounders FC honored both its 2009 inaugural MLS side before the match, with several players from that squad in attendance. Additionally, the 2009 players joined the family of Sigi Schmid in honoring Seattle’s first head coach in the club’s MLS era. Schmid’s wife Valerie was awarded a Golden Scarf by Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer, with numerous other members of the Schmid family part of the ceremony.
The visitors struck first in the 13th minute, with Leonardo Bertone converting a 20-yard volley for the first score in FC Cincinnati’s MLS history. While trying to catch Seattle on the counterattack, Bertone capitalized on Sounders FC mis-clearance and pounced on a loose ball outside the area, rocketing his shot past Stefan Frei.
Seattle equalized in the 27th minute courtesy of Leerdam’s second career MLS goal. Nicolás Lodeiro’s cross from the left was spilled by goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń, as the ball rolled right to the feet of a streaking Leerdam, who knocked it into the back of the net. It marked Leerdam’s first goal since July 23, 2017, then his second appearance with Seattle.
Seattle took the lead six minutes later with Morris’ first goal since August of 2017 after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Lodeiro found Morris with a through ball on the left side of the area, and the Mercer Island native cut inside to his right foot and put a low shot past Tytoń and inside the far post.
Morris completed his brace 10 minutes later, giving him his first multi-goal game since September of 2016. Lodeiro again initiated the attack, playing Víctor Rodríguez for a long run down the left flank. The Spaniard sent a low cross to the far side of the 18-yard-box, where Morris pounced with a first-time strike of his left boot.
With the scoreline at 3-1 at the halftime intermission after three Seattle goals within a span of 16 minutes, the second half was scoreless until the 87th minute when Ruidíaz opened his 2019 account. After gathering a pass from Rodríguez in the final third, the Peruvian went right by Cincinnati defender Nick Hagglund and converted his strike to complete the 4-1 result and give Seattle its first win of the 2019 MLS campaign.
Sounders FC continues its two-match home stint to start the season next Saturday when it hosts the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field (7:00 p.m. PT / JOEtv, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
- Sounders FC improved to 6-4-0 all-time in home openers and 6-5-0 all-time in season openers.
- Seattle’s four goals are its most all-time in a season opener. The club’s three first-half goals were its most in any half all-time in a season opener. The last time Sounders FC tallied three goals in a first half at CenturyLink Field was on July 13, 2016 in a 5-0 win vs. FC Dallas, when Clint Dempsey, Andreas Ivanschitz and Jordan Morris each scored.
- Seattle has not allowed more than one goal in 10 all-time home openers.
- Sounders FC is now 5-2-3 all-time in its first match against expansion teams, with a 20-10 goal advantage.
- Morris recorded the second brace of his career and his first at CenturyLink Field. He also scored twice in a 4-2 victory at the LA Galaxy on September 25, 2016. Morris’ goal in the 33rd minute was his first since August 5, 2017 in a 4-0 win at Minnesota. He last scored at CenturyLink Field on March 19, 2017 in a 3-1 victory vs. New York Red Bulls. Morris missed the entire 2018 season after suffering a right ACL tear in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League first leg at Santa Tecla FC on February 22, 2018.
- Stefan Frei made two saves and earned his 100th MLS regular-season win. He is now 100-87-57 in 247 career regular-season games.
- Leerdam’s goal was the second of his MLS career and his first since July 23, 2017 in a 3-0 win vs. San Jose.
- Ruidíaz netted his 11th MLS goal in just his 15th game. He paced the club with 10 goals in 14 games last season, his first in Seattle.
- Lodeiro notched the eighth multi-assist game of his career, and his third in his last six regular-season matches dating back to last season. Five of his eight career multi-assist games have come at CenturyLink Field. The midfielder leads MLS with 38 regular-season assists since entering the league in July of 2016.
- Rodríguez recorded two assists in a game for the second time in his career. He earned two assists in the final regular-season game of 2018, a 2-1 Seattle victory vs. San Jose. Rodríguez has now posted seven assists in his last eight games, including playoffs.
Seattle Sounders FC 4 – FC Cincinnati 1
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Venue: CenturyLink Field
Referee: Christopher Penso
Assistants: Jeff Hosking, Nick Uranga
Fourth Official: Victor Rivas
VAR: Hillario Grajeda
Weather: 42 degrees and mostly clear
CIN – Leonardo Bertone 13′
SEA – Kelvin Leerdam 27′
SEA – Jordan Morris (Nicolás Lodeiro) 33′
SEA – Jordan Morris (Víctor Rodríguez, Nicolás Lodeiro) 43′
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (Víctor Rodríguez) 87′
CIN – Fanendo Adi (caution) 46′
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Brad Smith (Nouhou 84′); Gustav Svensson (Jordy Delem 90’+2′), Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris (Harry Shipp 77′), Nicolás Lodeiro – captain, Víctor Rodríguez; Raúl Ruidíaz
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Will Bruin, Román Torres, Handwalla Bwana
Total shots: 24 (Rodríguez, 8)
Shots on goal: 9 (Ruidíaz, 3)
Fouls: 6 (Marshall, 2)
Corner-kicks: 6 (Lodeiro, 5)
Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)
FC Cincinnati – Przemyslaw Tytoń; Alvas Powell (Caleb Stanko 86′), Nick Hagglund, Kendall Waston – captain, Mathieu Deplagne, Roland Lamah; Leonardo Bertone, Victor Ulloa; Eric Alexander (Darren Mattocks 61′), Corben Bone (Kekuta Manneh 73′), Fanendo Adi
Substitutes not used: Spencer Richey, Forrest Lasso, Blake Smith, Emmanuel Ledesma
Total shots: 7 (Bertone, 3)
Shots on goal: 3 (Bertone, 2)
Fouls: 13 (Adi/Hagglund, 3)
Offside: 1 (Adi, 1)
Corner-kicks: 1 (Bertone, 1)
Saves: 6 (Tytoń, 6)