Raúl Ruidíaz, Seattle Sounders
Raúl Ruidíaz has played in 146 games for Seattle in all comps; he is one goal shy of tying Fredy Montero as the franchise's all-time goal scorer Seattle Sounders FC soundersfc.com

SEATTLE - In a tradition that dates back to 2018, thousands of fans at Lumen Field gave another standing ovation to Peruvian striker Raúl Ruidíaz as he made history under a beautiful and sunny day in the city of Seattle. With a penalty goal in the 11th minute of the game, Ruidíaz scored his 79th goal for the Rave Green and tied Freddy Montero's all-time scoring record for the club.

Less than six years since his arrival to Major League Soccer, the Peruvian has established himself as one of the league's best and most prolific players. He tied Montero's record in just 147 games played for the club in all competitions, with 74 of his goals coming in MLS play.

Raúl Ruidíaz, Seattle Sounders
Raúl Ruidíaz holds the club record for most MLS Cup Playoff goals in franchise history (9) Seattle Sounders FC soundersfc.com

Ruidíaz has accomplished pretty much everything there is to achieve in American soccer since his arrival in 2018, and his goals have changed the city of Seattle forever. When asked about the Peruvian, Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer was full of praise. "His time in Seattle has been very successful," he said. "He's got flair, he's got style...some of the Panenka penalties he takes, I always enjoy those. He had a really good free-kick against Portland in the game when we won 6-2. He's had a lot of highlight reel goals," Schmetzer said.

And exactly with a Panenka-style penalty, Ruidíaz scored the goal that tied him with Montero. "It takes bravery to take a panenka because if it doesn't work out you can look very bad. It took a lot of bravery from Raúl to try a Panenka in that situation to kind of spark us to a win," Schmetzer said in the post-game press conference.

Raúl Ruidíaz scores his first goal of the 2024 season

In his first full season at the club, he helped the team to its second MLS Cup title, scoring a goal in the final against Toronto FC. His feats don't stop there, he has set a club record for most MLS goals in a single season (17) and in 2022, guided the Sounders to the first CONCACAF Champions League title for any MLS team in more than 20 years.

Raúl Ruidíaz, Seattle Sounders
In 2022, Seattle Sounders became the first MLS team in 22 years to win CONCACAF's continental competition Seattle Sounders FC soundersfc.com

Ruidíaz already holds the franchise record for most goals in the playoffs, scoring nine times in 14 games played. His heroics don't end there, as the Peruvian also accounts for three goals in two finals played for the Rave & Green, including two against Pumas UNAM during the CONCACAF Champions League final in 2022.

Raúl Ruidíaz, Seattle Sounders
Seattle Sounders FC soundersfc.com

But to Schmetzer, Ruidíaz's best quality has nothing to do with his offensive game, it's all about the sacrifice he makes when the team does not have the ball. "What I always come back to is when he was in Morelia, everybody thought of him as just a goal scorer. When he came here he understood that, in his partnership with Nico Lodeiro, they always had to do some great defending. They were always the start of a good defensive team. He's smart about taking things away from our opponents so I was always impressed about that," Schmetzer added.

Raúl Ruidíaz scores a beautiful free kick in the Seattle Sounders' 6-2 win over Portland Timbers in 2021

Although he's been one of the most successful players in club history, Ruidíaz is not exempt from the consequences of Father Time. "Raúl's attitude so far this year has been great," Schmetzer declared after the game. "I'll tell you a little story. The day before a match we play a 5v5 and sometimes we play a mix of young guys with the older guys and whatnot. Well, Raúl loves being the captain of the young players. He has been a good role model for a lot of those young guys in a lot of different ways," Schmetzer said.

In less than six years, Raúl Ruidíaz has built a legacy that only a few players have accomplished in the history of Major League Soccer. But above all his highlights and goals, Ruidíaz -the person- has been just as important to the Sounders as Ruidíaz -the player-. "Good teammate, funny guy. The guys all like him...he's always brought a smile to his teammates and to the club," Schmetzer said.

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