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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sounders open season with easy 4-0 win against Rapids

Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris scores past Colorado Rapids goalie William Yarbrough on Sunday at Lumen Field in Seattle.  (Jennifer Buchanan/Seattle Times)
Jayda Evans Seattle Times

Sorry to Colorado but there was only option for the Sounders on Sunday — win and score goals.

And not in the simpleton type of way. But if there was any other outcome to open the 15th season at Lumen Field, the widely shared belief the team is talented and was just hampered by injuries to close a historic 2022 would’ve crumbled.

Those thoughts are dashed as the Sounders showed creativity, hustle and depth in a 4-0 win on a chilly night in south downtown Seattle. It was a throwback display co-captain Nico Lodeiro insisted days earlier the team had to have.

“We need to recover our home. When I came here when we played at Lumen Field we always win or draw,” said Lodeiro, who was part of the 2017 Sounders roster that only lost one MLS home match and the franchise-record-tying 14-match unbeaten streak in regular-season competitions from October 2020 to July 2021.

“Last year, we missed a lot of points at home and this can’t happen anymore,” Lodeiro continued. “We need to recover our strong house.”

The house was built with masterful goals like Saturday.

Sounders duo Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris, who recently inked long-term deals with the club, used headers to get the team going. And Morris with a late header to cap the scoring before being subbed off in the 85th minute.

On the first, Morris swapped wings with Roldan to send a cross to the right side of the field. Roldan headed down the attempt, but Rapids keeper William Yarbrough was able to block the shot. Roldan stayed in the box and headed his own rebound into the right corner of the net in the 25th minute.

The Sounders swung the ball from left to right when Lodeiro swiped a cross back to the left to Morris to set up the second score, but the attempt was blocked by Rapids defender Lalas Abubakar. Morris dug low to head the rebound across the line in the 45th minute.

Heber, the offseason signee from New York City FC, had his debut goal in green in the 53rd minute. The Brazilian forward used a backheel pass to Albert Rusnak to keep the scoring play alive, cashing in a poor clearance by Abubakar with a left-footed shot off the post into goal.

With the Sounders up 3-0, Colorado pressed more, signaling keeper Stefan Frei into action. Frei left his line for a daring save in the 67th minute and used his thigh for a save in the 69th minute.

Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer began making his subs in the 71st minute and the team remained goal dangerous. Morris’s brace in the 83rd minute, another header, was his first multi-score match since August 2020.

Sounders striker Raul Ruidiaz was unavailable due to hamstring tightness after playing 90 minutes in the team’s FIFA men’s Club World Cup match in Morocco earlier this month. Schmetzer dismissed concerns about the injury because the team has played two of a possible 53-game schedule, if the Sounders make long runs in a revamped Leagues Cup tournament, U.S. Open Cup and MLS postseason, and need Ruidiaz healthy for a congested season.

Rapids striker Diego Rubio led a list of five players unavailable to open the season for coach Robin Fraser. Rubio scored 16 goals and had seven assists last season.

Colorado won one road match last season through all competitions. The Rapids have only won twice at Lumen, falling to 16-2-1 all-time since Seattle joined MLS in 2009.