Raul Ruidiaz

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Sounders hold off Galaxy in seven-goal thriller (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less):  The seven-goal spectacle between the Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy was just as enthralling as the neck-and-neck playoff race both team’s are in. In fact, the game pretty much had it all: a brace, a goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and, of course, a late game-winning goal. Galaxy never had the lead, having to play from behind and tying it up in three different occasions. Ibrahimovic scored his 23rd of the season, while Uriel Antuna and Jørgen Skjelvik pitched in one each. The true difference maker featured on the home side, however. Cristian Roldan, registering only his second brace in his career, inspired the Sounders’ crucial victory that has them two points clear (46) of third-place San Jose Earthquakes (44) with six regular season games remaining. Nothing is set in stone yet, but at the very minimum, Seattle can feel like they’re one foot in the playoffs. The Galaxy, however, will play a lead role in this season’s Decision Day, if they continue their recent ways.

Three moments that mattered

45′ — Ruidiaz breaks deadlock — The Peruvian with some early foreshadowing of what was to come.

66′ — Zlatan uplifts Galaxy’s hopes — Ibrahimovic now has 23 goals in the same number of appearances this season.

89′ — Roldan earns Seattle three, precious points — With a playoff race as tight as the Western Conference’s, Roldan’s  two-goal performance couldn’t come at a better time.

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Man of the match: Cristian Roldan

Goalscorers: Ruidiaz (45′), Roldan (55′), Ibrahimovic (66′), Antuna (75′), Morris (77′), Skjelvik (81′), Roldan (89′)

Sounders overturn poor run, outlast rival Timbers in victory (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less):  After a 2-1 win against the Portland Timbers, the Cascadia Cup belongs to the Seattle Sounders, and so do three points. Having not won in the last four, the three points, although not hoisted like the cup following the game, are sweeter than any silverware. Seattle, with seven regular-season games left to play, need every point they can get to remain second behind a historic LAFC. Raul Ruidiaz, scoreless throughout the aforementioned run, proved to be the difference, with one goal and assist throughout the night. The Timbers, who hang on by a thread in the playoff race, fell back on Diego Valeri’s genius in the second half, but it wasn’t enough this time around. They remain in the seventh spot with 37 points.

Three moments that mattered

10′ — Cristian Roldan opens the scoreline — Awkward assist from Ruidiaz, simple tap-in from Roldan.

60′ — Ruidiaz makes it 2-0  — Chances are Ruidiaz will score inside the box on a first-time strike.

54′ — Valeri gives Portland life — We’ve seen him do better before, but Valeri likes to show up against the Sounders.

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Man of the match: Raul Ruidiaz

Goalscorers: Roldan (60′), Ruidiaz (47′), Valeri (54′)

Ibrahimovic scores twice, 10-man Galaxy ties Sounders 2-2

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Carson, Calif. (AP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in each half and the LA Galaxy tied the Seattle Sounders 2-2 on Saturday night despite playing nearly the entire match down a man.

The Galaxy’s Daniel Steres was sent off in the sixth minute for the denial of obvious goal opportunity.

Ibrahimovic tied it at 1 for the Galaxy (13-11-2) with a header in the 45th minute. In the 65th minute, he was taken down by Kim Kee-hee while going for a header in the area and converted the penalty, making it 2-1 with his 20th goal of the season.

LA defender Jorgen Skjelvik scored an own goal in the 82nd minute when he inadvertently deflected goalkeeper David Bingham’s attempted clearance into the Galaxy net.

Raul Ruidiaz opened the scoring in the 42nd minute for the Sounders (11-8-7). Harry Shipp hustled to round up a loose ball and fed it to an open Ruidiaz, who slotted it home.

Sounders beat Atlanta on goals from Ruidiaz, Shipp (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): While Los Angeles FC runs away with the 2019 Supporters’ Shield, the Seattle Sounders can call themselves the “best of the rest” of MLS… for now, at least. Sunday’s 2-1 victory over defending champions Atlanta United sent Brian Schmetzer’s side (35 points) into second place in the Western Conference as well as the single-table Shield race. LAFC, however, remain 11 points clear. Atlanta, meanwhile, remain third in the Eastern Conference, still six points back of first-place Philadelphia Union. Raul Ruidiaz and Harry Shipp grabbed Seattle’s goals on Sunday, sandwiching a Josef Martinez equalizer, all occurring during a 13-minute explosion of action. The Sounders have now won three of their last four games, while Atlanta have just one win from their last five (three losses).

[ MORE: Quakes smash Galaxy | LAFC thrash Dynamo ]

Three moments that mattered

58′ — Ruidiaz makes magic all by himself — There aren’t many players in MLS who could create this chance, let alone maintain their composure to put it away after the slaloming and the flicks.

65′ — Josef’s thunderous header levels it up — Martinez scores goals in so many different ways, including with his head despite being just 5-foot-6.

71′ — Shipp places a header of his own to make it 2-1 — While Martinez’s header was powered into the back of the net, Shipp’s was precisely placed off the (intentional) bounce to avoid a sea of outstretched legs.

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Man of the match: Raul Ruidiaz

Goalscorers: Ruidiaz (58′), Martinez (65′), Shipp (71′)

Portland outlasts Seattle in gripping playoff second leg

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Portland and Seattle staged a second leg befitting of their rivalry, as the Timbers knocked their rivals out of the MLS Cup Playoffs with a gripping win in Seattle early Friday.

A chaotic ending put the match in extra time, where Dairon Asprilla sent a bullet header into the back of the goal off a Diego Valeri cross to make it 4-3 on aggregate only to see a penalty make it 4-4 four minutes later.

Will Bruin hit the post with Seattle’s second penalty attempt and Jeff Attinella stopped Osvaldo Alonso on the next Seattle attempt. Stefan Frei stopped Liam Ridgewell‘s winning bid, but could only get a hand on Asprilla’s winning hit.

The triumph sets Portland up for a meeting with either Real Salt Lake or Sporting KC in the Western final.

[ MORE: Louisville City defends USL Cup title ]

The Sounders entered the match down 2-1 but holding an away goal. That meant 1-0 would be enough for them to get into the conference finals, and an awful Portland mistake put them in the catbird seat.

Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella bungled a cross and left it on the doorstep for Raul Ruidiaz, who made it 2-2 on aggregate in the 68th minute. Seattle, as it stood, was headed back to the Western finals.

Enter Sebastian Blanco.

The Argentine took a lay-off from Dairon Asprilla and hit a low ball that caught Stefan Frei in a hard place.

Portland was back in front, though the Timbers were denied a bid to close the match out via Frei’s in-tight denial of Lucas Melano.

Stoppage time made it 2-1 to Seattle, when Ruidiaz unleashed this beauty following a weak headed clearing attempt from Blanco.

The match went to extra time, and Valeri’s long cross was met at the back post by the leaping Asprilla.

The score line stayed the same for less than four minutes, as a Blanco handball sent Lodeiro to the spot and the Sounders star did not miss his chance to make it 4-4.

Ruidiaz had a goal pulled back for a handball as the match continued to deliver drama en route to kicks.

Some Timbers players celebrated after extra time, apparently thinking they advanced via away goals (away goals in extra time are no longer a tiebreaker). That’s… problematic.