September 18, 2018 / 10:01 PM / in a month

Sounders hope to extend record streak vs. Union

Since Raul Ruidiaz first donned the rave-green colored jersey of the Seattle Sounders, they have not lost.

Considering the Peruvian forward joined them in early July in the international signing window, that’s saying something.

The Sounders (13-9-5, 44 points) will put their MLS-record nine straight victories in the post-shootout era on the line Wednesday night when they play host to the Philadelphia Union (12-12-4, 40 points) at CenturyLink Field.

Ruidiaz first suited up for the Sounders for a July 15 game at Atlanta, although he didn’t play in the 1-1 tie. He came on as a reserve the following week in a 2-0 victory against Vancouver. He hasn’t left the lineup since and the Sounders haven’t lost.

“This team, the existing group of guys has a lot of pride,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said of his two-time defending Western Conference champions. “The insertion of Raul (Ruidiaz) and that whole dynamic and then finding results along the way? I think ... those things have combined into lively practices, competitive spirit at practices and better results on the field.”

Ruidiaz scored twice Saturday as the Sounders won 2-1 at Vancouver to clinch the Cascadia Cup, the three-way competition between the Sounders, Whitecaps and Portland Timbers.

Seattle has outscored its opponents 21-5 during its winning streak, with midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro totaling five goals and four assists and Ruidiaz adding five goals and one assist.

“I’m really surprised by all of this,” Ruidiaz said after Saturday’s match. “But we’re more than just a group, we’re a family. That’s why everything is coming out excellent.”

The Union had a five-match unbeaten streak (4-0-1) snapped at home Saturday with a 4-1 loss to Montreal.

“Every night is not going to be perfect,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “It’s about how we respond in Seattle. I’m fully confident the group will give a very good response ... against a team that’s playing as good as anybody in the league right now.”

The Union might be without midfielder Borek Dockal, who has been dealing with an ankle injury.

“There’s a plan in place for him,” Curtin said of his Czech playmaker, who has five goals and a league-leading 15 assists this season. “We wanted to get him on the field for Montreal and back with the group. We’ll assess things and how the ankle responded to that game, knowing that we do have a (U.S. Open Cup) final coming up, knowing that Seattle is turf and there’s some travel involved. We have to manage it.”

The all-time series between the teams is tied at 4-4-2, though the Sounders hold a 4-1-0 edge at home.

—Field Level Media

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