Raul Ruidiaz had a goal and an assist in his return to the Seattle lineup as the Sounders regained first place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference with a 2-0 victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday night in Portland, Oregon.
Nicolas Lodeiro also had a goal and an assist for the Sounders (10-4-5, 35 points), who moved two points ahead of idle Sporting Kansas City and clinched a playoff berth for the 12th consecutive season since joining MLS.
The Whitecaps (8-13-0, 24 points) had won three of their previous four matches. They are playing their final seven home games at Providence Park because of quarantine and travel restrictions from Canada.
Ruidiaz missed the previous four matches while on international duty with the Peruvian national team, during which he had a positive COVID-19 test.
He returned to Seattle on Friday following a quarantine and was back in the lineup Tuesday.
His goal in the 54th minute broke a scoreless tie. It came after Lodeiro made a pass to overlapping defender Nouhou Tolo to set him free down the left wing. Tolo's cross found Ruidiaz at the top of the 6-yard box, and Ruidiaz tapped the ball past onrushing Vancouver goalkeeper Evan Bush.
The play was originally called offside, but a video review determined it was a good goal, Ruidiaz's team-leading 10th of the season.
Lodeiro made it 2-0 in the 60th minute. Seattle defender Yeimar Gomez Andrade sent a long pass down the right wing for Ruidiaz, who caught up to the ball at the top of the 18-yard penalty area and dribbled into the box near the end line. He passed back for Lodeiro, whose right-footed shot from 8 yards out found the netting inside the far post.
Seattle goalie Stefan Frei didn't have to make a save in posting his sixth shutout of the season.
The Sounders outshot the Whitecaps 11-4, with none of Vancouver's attempts on net. The Whitecaps didn't even get a shot off until Ali Adnan's free kick sailed wide in the 81st minute.
--Field Level Media