Sounders FC Roll to Dominating 4-1 Win

So maybe it wasn't perfect.

Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall, and the rest of Seattle's back line certainly would have preferred a clean sheet. 'Back to back 4-0 victories' has a nice ring to it.

But aside from the 87th minute goal by DeMarcus Beasley and taking advantage of a few Sounders FC defensive lapses in the final 15 minutes of the match, the Houston Dynamo never stood a chance under rainy skies at CenturyLink Field on Monday night.

Two first half goals by Will Bruin and Cristian Roldan and two second half goals by Victor Rodriguez anchored Seattle to a dominating victory that puts the club one point back of Portland for fourth place in the Western Conference as well as three points from Los Angeles FC and Sporting Kansas City, in third and second place respectively, with three matches remaining in the 2018 MLS regular season.

However, Seattle supporters still held some concern heading into Monday's match. Raul Ruidiaz (Peru) and Gustav Svensson (Sweden) departed for International Duty prior to the match, leaving the Sounders without MLS's leading goal-scorer in September (Ruidiaz, 5) and a World Cup-class midfielder in The Goose.

The last time Seattle played extended time in a lone-forward-formation with Bruin, the Rave Green fell at home to Philadelphia 1-0 with disappointing offensive production. Monday illustrated a different story, though. Bruin slammed home an 18th minute goal, followed by a Roldan strike 16 minutes later, to give Seattle everything they needed to capture all three points.

Nicolas Lodeiro, who assisted on the Sounders' second goal, came into the day with a large question mark next to his name. Last week, General Manager Garth Lagerwey said the club would be negotiating with International Soccer Federations to keep Ruidiaz, Lodeiro, Svensson, and Jordy Delem in Rave Green for Monday's match, as opposed to the players joining their countries prior to the game, when Federations are allowed to call players in for duty. Reports over the weekend indicated Ruidiaz and Svensson would not be available for Seattle, but Lodeiro and Delem still held question marks.

That suspense faded when Sounders FC announced both Lodeiro and Delem in the starting lineup. Lodeiro amassed a team-high 105 touches and 70 passes, including an assist on Seattle's second goal, in 90+ minutes while Delem held down Svensson's holding midfielder position for much of the match.

Other highlights from Monday night's domination included Victor Rodriguez doubling his season goal total to four in one night, Nouhou impressing at left back both offensively and defensively, Handwalla Bwana's first career assist on Seattle's fourth goal, and Alex Roldan entering the match for his brother, Cristian, in the 83rd minute with a "brotherly love" hug, according to Head Coach Brian Schmetzer.

Sure, the 11 minutes of three substitutes shook up the back-line to the point of giving up a goal. Schmetzer takes full responsibility for that Houston score and losing the clean sheet. But if that's the one error to come out of Monday, the Sounders shouldn't feel too awfully bad.

Next up for Seattle is Orlando City SC, on the road, on Wednesday, October 17 at 4:30 p.m. (pre-match show at 4:00 p.m. on 950 KJR), facing a 7-19-4 squad that has given up an Eastern Conference high 68 goals on the year.

After Orlando, the Sounders head to Houston, now eliminated from playoff contention, for a road match on the 21st and wrap up the year against San Jose, at home on the 28th, against an Earthquakes team that sits with 20 points, fewest in MLS, and 69 goals given up, most in MLS. If Seattle continues to execute with the offensive precision resembling Monday's 4-1 thrashing and last week's 4-0 beat-down of Colorado, the club can certainly close out the year with three more victories and potentially capture a home match in the knockout round, if not a bye in the first round of the MLS playoffs.

As the 2018 regular season nears its conclusion, the Sounders are in prime position to set themselves up for a third consecutive MLS Cup run. Check out highlights from Seattle's 4-1 win below as well as KJR's Postgame Show featuring Schmetzer's post-match press conference.

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