The Seattle Sounders opened their 2023 MLS campaign hosting the Colorado Rapids on a chilly Seattle evening. Despite the temperatures, the Sounders’ boots were red hot, taking down the visitors 4-0 thanks to a Jordan Morris brace and additional goals from Cristian Roldan and Heber.
It was an open start to the match with both sides hitting the crossbar in the opening minutes, first Darren Yapi for Colorado and then Alex Roldan for Seattle. Colorado put high pressure on Seattle to try and win back possession high up the field but Seattle did well to absorb the pressure and maintain possession.
Seattle began to find space behind the Rapids’ defense and nearly opened the scoring as a through ball to Morris from Nico Lodeiro was called back for offside, negating a tap in goal for Cristian Roldan.
Roldan and Morris would make the connection minutes later though as Morris found space down the right side of the field in the 25th minute and put a perfect cross to the back post for Roldan who was waiting to head the ball on frame. The first header would be saved by keeper William Yarbrough but the rebound went right back to Roldan who finished off the opportunity.
Despite conceding the goal, Colorado restarted the match and quickly won a number of free kicks in the Seattle half. The Sounders’ defense stood strong against the attack and began to take control of the match and possession.
Just as the first half was coming to a close, Seattle struck again in the 45th minute. Cristian Roldan found space again down the right side and put a dangerous cross through the box. A defender deflected the ball away from a waiting Morris but Lodeiro was able to get to the ball first and put another low and powerful cross into the box. The ball bounced off a defender and right to Morris who made a diving header at the near post to put the ball over the line and double the lead.
Seattle had lots of success down the wings so it’s not surprising that Heber had only 10 first half touches, but the newest Sounder would add a 3rd goal in the second half, cleaning up a cross from Lodeiro that was blocked in front of the net by a Rapid defender in the 53rd minute. The Sounders created the goal after cycling the ball from the right sideline to the left side of the box to Lodeiro. At that point, Heber was in the right place at the right time and he ripped the ball into the back of the net.
Back on the right side of the Seattle attack, Morris made a run to the end line with the ball, holding it up a second before picking out a trailing Heber in the middle of the box. The forward redirected the cross on target but couldn’t beat Yarbrough.
Morris was all over the pitch for Sounders and his efforts were rewarded again in the dying minutes of the match. A corner for Seattle bounced off a number of players before arcing nicely to Morris for a tap in header at the back post.
The Rapids simply could not keep up with the Sounders’ wing play all night and the Rave Green made them pay for it.
“That’s just the way we want to play,” said head coach Brian Schmetzer after the match before crediting the play of Heber and Joao Paulo for allowing the team to play effectively and be so effective out wide.
Stefan Frei was barely needed on the evening, except for 2 crucial saves late in the match, although Colorado had a few attempts that went just wide of frame. The pace from Seattle ended up doing in the Rapids as the visitors were never able to get much going behind their attack while the Sounders width opened up lots of space for their attackers to run.
Next up for the Sounders will be Real Salt lake who comes to Lumen Field next Saturday.