Raul Ruidiaz's two goals just enough for Sounders to edge Whitecaps and win
Raul Ruidiaz scored two goals as the visiting Seattle Sounders edged the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 in Major League Soccer action Saturday night.
He staked the Sounders to a 2-0 lead in the first 42 minutes before the Whitecaps closed the gap in first-half stoppage time. The Sounders held off several Vancouver threats in the second half.
The Sounders (13-9-5, 44 points) extended their win streak to a post-shootout-era record nine games -- exactly how long Ruidiaz has been on the team -- and are now unbeaten in 12 games overall.
Ruidiaz, a 28-year-old native of Lima, Peru, has five goals in eight starts after signing as a designated player with the Sounders in June. He previously played for a team in Mexico.
The Whitecaps (11-10-7, 40 points) saw their unbeaten streak end at six games. The Caps suffered their first loss since dropping a 2-0 decision in Seattle on July 21, when the Sounders started their streak.
The Sounders became the first team to post nine straight wins since the Los Angeles Galaxy won 12 in a row in 1996, when shootouts were still used to decide regular-season games.
Shootouts ended in 1999, when the league began to allow ties.
Kei Kamara tallied for the Whitecaps.
Ruidiaz opened the scoring in the 21st minute as he toed in Cristian Roldan's rolling pass from the right wing. The Sounders went up 2-0 in the 42nd minute as Ruidiaz went around Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic on a breakaway and scored into an empty net.
The goal came on a quick counterattack after Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei stopped Cristian Techera's free kick over a defensive wall and quickly put the ball back in play.
Just when it looked like the Sounders were taking control, the Whitecaps rallied in first-half stoppage time, forcing a number of corner kicks in succession.
On one, Kamara headed in Nicolas Mezquida's boot from the left corner. Moments later, Frei stopped Techera from point-blank range, giving the Whitecaps a chance to equalize. But time ran out before they could put the ball on net. The Caps had eight corner kicks in the first half alone.
Ten minutes into the second half, Kamara pinged a shot off the far post from the left wing. In the 62nd minute, Frei foiled Mezquida on a shot from inside the Seattle box. Vancouver came close several more times, but could not score again.