SEATTLE (AP) — Jordan Morris scored a pair of goals via header, Cristian Roldan also scored on a header and the Seattle Sounders overwhelmed the Colorado Rapids in a dominating 4-0 win Sunday night in the MLS season opener for both teams.
Roldan scored in the 25th minute by finishing off a chance that started with a cross by Morris. In the final moments of the first half, Morris got his first of the season with a diving header after an initial pass by Nicolás Lodeiro was bundled in front of goal.
New striker Héber scored in his Seattle debut early in the second half, and Morris scored his second in the 83rd minute after a corner kick pinballed around the penalty area.
It was the first multi-goal game for Morris since Aug. 30, 2020, against LAFC.
Seattle’s convincing opening victory was a strong statement after the Sounders missed the MLS playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season. The Sounders finished 11th in the Western Conference last year, one spot behind the equally disappointing Rapids, who tumbled to 10th after winning the Western Conference regular-season title in 2021.
Seattle’s MLS debut for 2023 came less than a month after the Sounders had a disappointingly brief appearance at the FIFA Club World Cup. The first team from MLS to participate in the event, the Sounders lost to Egyptian powerhouse Al Ahly 1-0 in the quarterfinal round and ended up playing only one match in Morocco.
But the time preparing for the Club World Cup appeared to pay off as Seattle was significantly sharper and more dangerous around goal against the Rapids.
Colorado’s best scoring chances came from promising 18-year-old striker Darren Yapi making his MLS debut. Yapi hit the crossbar from 18 yards out in the second minute and had another good chance at goal saved by Seattle’s Stefan Frei midway through the second half. But Colorado’s overhauled defense remained leaky. The Rapids gave up 57 goals last season and Seattle could have started the season with a few more if not for some key saves by goalkeeper William Yarbrough.
The opener also saw the MLS return for Seattle midfielder Joao Paulo after missing most of last season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Paulo played 80 minutes.
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