Minnesota United went to Seattle on Friday night seeking comeuppance in its season opener, in the very place last season ended amid such disbelief.
The Loons instead left Lumen Field 4-0 shutout losers four months after they came within a mere minute of reaching the MLS Cup during the Western Conference final there.
In the days before Friday's game, Loons defender Chase Gasper suggested it might be "poetic justice" that his team get another chance so soon after last December's 3-2 loss in stoppage time.
This time, the Loons allowed all four goals after halftime, starting with Brazilian midfielder Joao Paulo's 25-yard banger of a volley in the 49th minute and ending with Sounders all-time leading scorer Fredy Montero's volley of his own in the 86th minute in his return to Seattle after nine years away.
In between, midfielder Raul Ruidiaz scored two tap-in goals within three minutes. He did so in a game after which Loons newcomer Wil Trapp used words such as "stretched" and "capitulation" and coach Adrian Heath mentioned the wide gaps his team's defense allowed after halftime.
"Football is a cruel game sometimes," Heath said by video conference call afterward. "As our coaches just said, it's not a 4-nil game. The whole first half, we were probably the better team. Every time we got a bit of momentum in the game, they got a breakaway and scored some goals."
The Loons haven't beaten Seattle in their first five MLS seasons. They're 0-7-1 in all competitions and have been outscored 20-6 overall and 12-2 in the last 29 minutes of those eight games.
They opened their fifth MLS season in the second game of a Friday night doubleheader — San Jose at Houston the other — and the only one of the two that was nationally televised on FS1.
The Loons now are 2-3 in season openers after having won their past two, at Vancouver and Portland.
Friday's shutout spoiled the MLS debut of Loons newly acquired striker Ramon Abila, who showed an instant connection with former Boca Juniors teammate Emanuel Reynoso when he entered as a second-half sub.
The Sounders on Friday welcomed back Montero, who scored his first goal as a Sounder since 2012. They played without game-changer Jordan Morris and injured star midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro. Morris is both loaned out to Swansea City in England's second division and sidelined by a season-ending knee injury sustained in February.
Heath chose to start young goalie Dayne St. Clair over veteran Tyler Miller.
St. Clair's diving save stopped Ruidiaz's penalty kick in the 27th minute, one of a handful of important stops he made while keeping the game scoreless past halftime. Robin Lod had two prime scoring chances — one in the 36th minute, the other in the 63rd — but one hit the post and the other went just wide.
A minute after Paulo scored the game's first goal, Sounders star Cristian Roldan raced to stop Loons defender Brent Kallman's header off a Reynoso free kick just before it crossed the goal line.
"If Brent scores that goal, that puts us right back in the game and the momentum swings," Trapp said. "It's a game of goals changing games."
Goals that never were change games, too.
From there, Seattle scored three more times.
"The nature of players is when you're behind, you want to go forward," Heath said. "When it goes to [2-0], you're chasing and you leave big holes, big spaces. That's the danger. You can concede two, three goals. I'm sure if everybody sees the score line, they think it was a one-sided game. But it was far from that."
The Star Tribune did not travel for this game. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews before and/or after the game.