Back to back matches. Back to back blowouts. For Sounders FC, winning big is becoming the norm.
After crushing San Jose 7-1 last week, Seattle faced LAFC at CenturyLink Field on Friday and rocked the visitors 3-0 thanks to two first half Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kicks and a clinical strike by Raul Ruidiaz in the 82nd minute that iced the game.
Both matches came without defensive stalwart Gustav Svensson, who served his tenth and final day in quarantine on Friday after returning from the Nations Cup with Sweden last week. The 3-0 win also did not feature the recently signed Brad Smith, who officially returned to the team on Thursday and just started his mandatory 10 days in quarantine before he can join the squad.
For Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, the upcoming difficult starting lineup choices is a good problem to have, with too much talent at too few spots.
Who do you take out? Joevin Jones, who scored twice and assisted on two goals against San Jose? Xavier Arreaga, who put together one of his best defensive outings on Friday against LAFC? Or Svensson, a National Team quality player with extensive versatility?
Those questions are for another day. For now, the club can celebrate another three points, which pushes the Sounders above Kansas City and to the top of the Western Conference with 21 points.
Meanwhile, Bob Bradley's squad still sit at sixth place in the West. The LAFC Head Coach couldn't have felt better than anyone in Seattle on Friday, especially after having two penalties called against his club in the first half. Video Review decided the first, showing a clear and obvious hand-ball in the box, then the second featured midfielder Latif Blessing taking down Seattle defender Yeimar Gomez Andrade in the penalty area.
Bradley yelled and complained long after Lodeiro tucked away both balls into the back of the net, each coming within five minutes of the other in the 29th and 33rd minutes.
Seattle expertly killed the match off in the second half, using a strong defensive effort to keep LAFC off the scoring sheet and frustrating the visitors, who scored the most goals in MLS in 2019. Then late in the match, after a few excellent chances, the Sounders finally finished off an opportunity, as Joao Paulo found Ruidiaz for the third and final Rave Green goal.
With ten goals in the last two games, Seattle now sets their sights on Portland, where the Timbers will once again play host to the Sounders next Wednesday at Providence Park. Listen to kickoff of that match on 950 KJR at 7:00 p.m.
The Rave Green most recently visited Portland last month where they used three second half goals, two by Ruidiaz, to pick up a dominating 3-0 win, which marked their third consecutive regular season victory at the Timbers' house. Not since 1988 has Seattle's professional soccer team won three consecutive times in Portland. The Sounders will have the chance at four next Wednesday.
As for Friday's 3-0 win over LAFC at CenturyLink, check out both full-match highlights and KJR's Postgame Show below where Pete Fewing and Jackson Felts break down all the action!
Below: Photo Credit to Brian Babcock of Seattle Sounders FC.