It’s been a season from hell for the Seattle Sounders, as they’ve been without the likes of Jordan Morris, Nicolas Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Roman Torres, Osvaldo Alonso and Victor Rodriguez — six players who’ll take home a combined $5.8 million in 2018 — for 50 of a possible 84 appearances this season.
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It’s little wonder they’ve won just 12 points from their first 14 games and find themselves with yet another massive mountain to climb in order to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs, given their seemingly never-ending injury crisis (Morris is out for the year with a torn ACL; Rodriguez and Torres have made just four and five appearances, respectively; and Dempsey and Lodeiro have combined for just two goals and three assists) and availability lost due to international call-ups (Torres, when not injured, as well as Gustav Svensson).
Chief among their problems? They’ve scored just 11 goals in 14 games — eight fewer than any other team in MLS. When Morris went down in late February and it became clear that Rodriguez might never be reliably fit, general manager Garth Lagerwey’s top task became exceedingly clear: sign a star striker who’ll have the kind of immediate, overwhelming impact that Obafemi Martins had upon his arrival in 2013.
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Enter: Raul Ruidiaz, who’s 27 years old, fresh off a trip to the World Cup with Peru (31 career caps) and back-to-back 20-goal seasons for Liga MX side Morelia. Seattle will reportedly pay a hefty transfer fee in exchange for Ruidiaz’s services.
Ruidiaz moved to Mexico, where he scored 40 goals in two seasons and won back-to-back scoring titles, in the summer of 2016.
The gap between Seattle, who currently sit 10th in the Western Conference, and the sixth-place Vancouver Whitecaps is 11 points.