Just five days ago, LAFC was basking in the glory if its first ever win over the LA Galaxy at the most critical time, in the MLS Cup playoffs, that saw them advance to the Western Conference Final.
However, just like LAFC did to the Galaxy back on Thursday night, the Seattle Sounders chose the opportune time to collect its first ever win over LAFC. Seattle answered an early 1-0 deficit with three unanswered goals and the Sounders walked out of Banc of California Stadium with the Western Conference championship trophy following the 3-1 result.
Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro were the catalysts for the Sounders. Ruidiaz earned a brace in which scored the equalizing goal shortly after LAFC went ahead, then added a second goal that basically sealed the win for the Seattle.
Such a scenario didn’t look possible after the 17th minute, when LAFC’s Eduard Atuesta sent a free kick from about 25 yards out past Stefan Frei at the near post to stake LAFC to the lead.
A 1-0 deficit against LAFC, the highest scoring team this past season, would have been a big blow to many teams, but on this night Seattle suggested otherwise. The Sounders got the equalizer in the 22nd minute, as Ruidiaz took a ball from Lodeiro, turned to evade Eddie Segura, got into the penalty area and fired a shot that beat Tyler Miller near post to level the match. Lodeiro then put Seattle ahead two minutes later, as Lodeiro left a ball for Joevin Jones, who dribbled forward, played a ball to Lodeiro, who then fired a left foot-ed volley from about 20 yards out, just outside the penalty area, and the shot beat Miller at the same spot as Ruidiaz’s shot, and it gave the Sounders the lead. Seattle took the lead into halftime, then Ruidiaz pretty much sealed the Sounders trip to the MLS Cup final inthe 64th minute, as he took a ball from Lodeiro, took a quick touch and fired a shot that beat beat Miller near post to double Seattle’s advantage.
The Sounders are making their third MLS Cup final appearance over the last four seasons. Now they wait to see if they will travel to Atlanta, or face Toronto FC in the final for the third time in four years. The only difference is that this time, Seattle will have the luxury of hosting the final.