For a Western Conference primer between MLS clubs who should be atop the standings this fall, Saturday had everything a fan would want.

Except goals.

The Sounders have yet to concede at home this season after a 0-0 draw with Los Angeles FC on a picturesque afternoon at Lumen Field.

“We want to stop talking about last year, but [getting a point for draws] are sometimes the points that we missed last year where we missed the playoffs,” Sounders fullback Alex Roldan said. “We’re going to need some of these throughout the season. … It’s kind of the message that we’re trying to send out. When you come here, we’re going to make it difficult on you. We’re not going to give anything easy, and that’s what every team should expect.”

LAFC had four daring looks and a wanting cross in the closing five minutes that should have given the visitors their first win at Lumen since 2018. LAFC forward Kwadwo Opoku had the ball deflect off him on a sitter in the 89th minute. Sounders keeper Stefan Frei had a left-footed kick save to stop LAFC forward Denis Bouanga’s close-range shot from burying into the back of the net in second-half stoppage time.

The Sounders only had one solid chance in the second half — midfielder Cristian Roldan’s shot outside the box in the 75th minute. They opened the MLS season outscoring Colorado and Real Salt Lake 6-0 at Lumen.

“There’s still a lack of clear opportunities in goal,” Alex Roldan said. “The first two games we were pretty precise in terms of the opportunities that we had. The takeaway from these past two games [including a 1-0 loss in Cincinnati] is that we didn’t find the back of the net and not only that, we didn’t find the best opportunities to get into the back of the net.”


LAFC (2-0-1) is winless in their last seven trips to Seattle.

Nouhou, who signed a three-year deal this month, flexed the first muscle of the Sounders’ defense in the third minute when he cleared a challenge in the keeper’s box. He nixed another attempt in the sixth minute and the Sounders (2-1-1) settled into control of majority of the game.

The closing 10 minutes of the opening half were the type of grudge match the 32,515 in attendance likely expected from the defending CONCACAF Champions League (Sounders) and MLS Cup (LAFC) winners. It became a real fray in the 43rd minute when on the end of a free kick that Frei went to ground to snuff out, LAFC defender Aaron Long took two kicks at the ball.

Nouhou immediately pushed Long off Frei, who was still on the turf, and teammate Jackson Ragen joined in shoving Long back. It took a moment for referee Ismail Elfath to separate everyone, issuing Nouhou and Long yellow cards.

Sounders midfielder Albert Rusnak was shown a yellow for a foul in the 45th minute. Sounders midfielder Joao Paulo was tagged with a yellow card in the 35th minute for tripping near center circle.

The yellow-card distribution continued in the second half as LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta (48th minute) and Alex Roldan (56th) committed rough fouls.


“The aggressiveness, especially at home is important; you need that,” Frei said. “At halftime, I wanted to make sure we understood was that it can’t turn into something emotional. You’ve got to keep that in check.”

The Sounders’ first good attempt at goal bounced off the post in the 23rd minute. Rusnak tried to sneak a low shot from distance into a narrow space between the side of the net and LAFC keeper John McCarthy.

The Sounders debuted their red-and-black Bruce Lee kits Saturday and Raul Ruidiaz invoked some martial arts on his first honest attempt at goal in the 29th minute. He leapt seemingly twice his 5-foot-7 frame for a right-footed scissor kick, but right into the belly of McCarthy for the easy save.

“We somehow ran out of juice, again a little bit,” Frei said of the second half. “It was going back-and-forth and we found ourselves on the wrong side of that, defending a lot then trying to counter then giving the ball away too quickly.”

Rotating forwards has been the only changes Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer has made to his lineups to open the MLS season. Saturday was the return of Ruidiaz up top.

Ruidiaz missed the past three starts as he works his way back from a hamstring injury. Expected backup Heber suffered a hamstring strain in training earlier this month after starting twice in place of Ruidiaz to open league play. Fredy Montero started the road loss against FC Cincinnati.


Schmetzer had to sub off Ragen in the 55th minute for Xavier Arreaga because of a no-contact injury. Ragen needed medical attention on the field but was able to walk off unassisted and was diagnosed with a bruised rib. The native Seattleite played every minute of the team’s previous four matches, including the FIFA men’s Club World Cup loss in Morocco.

Ruidiaz and Joao Paulo, who’s returning from a torn ACL, were subbed off in the 63rd minute for winger Leo Chu and midfielder Obed Vargas. The appearance for Vargas is the first since suffering a season-ending back injury in June 2022.

Montero entered the match in the 79th minute for Alex Roldan.

“That was a time substitution,” Schmetzer said of Ruidiaz. “Both JP and Albert were carrying yellow cards in that area of the field. A little tug here or late on a tackle and it could’ve been a red. So, that was the decision for Obed and he was good.”