The Seattle Sounders will return to the MLS Cup Final this year after they defeated LAFC 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, as reported by ESPN & LA Times.
Some bookmakers had the Sounders down as distant 6/1 underdogs coming into this game, and understandably so. However, you could tell that the visitors themselves weren’t ready to give up after a season which has seen them defy the odds on multiple occasions.
They did so one more time, setting themselves up for a blockbuster MLS Cup Final as they attempt to replicate the success they had back in 2016 upon winning the MLS Cup.
Shutting up the doubters
Things got off to a great start for the hosts as Eduard Atuesta was able to give LAFC the lead, with many believing they’d stroll towards the final from there. Alas, just five minutes later the Sounders began a strong comeback with two goals in the span of four minutes from Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro. They were able to control the pace of the game before adding a third late in the day, with Ruidiaz getting on the scoresheet once more.
“We came out and went down a goal and came back and scored three in their home,” Sounders head coach Schmetzer said. “So you guys tell me if my team deserves some credit.”
On the other end of the spectrum, though, LAFC couldn’t mask their disappointment after a sensational season ended in heartbreak.
“It’s frustrating to have a home game in the semifinal with a chance to host the final and not get it done. We all feel that way,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “We will continue trying to take the football ideas we have, challenge guys and continue to develop. There were a lot of good things this season, but in this moment the only thing that every one of us feels is disappointment.”
Shock and awe
Star striker Carlos Vela spoke on what has been a tremendous season, and decided to look ahead to what should be an incredibly bright future for the franchise.
“Nobody expected this end. In the playoffs we know it’s one game, 90 minutes. [But] in the end we have to be proud of what we did all year and learn.
“We have to come back next year and be better.”
The Sounders will face either Toronto FC or Atlanta United in the final, and if it does turn out to be Toronto, it’ll serve as a rematch from the 2017 final when the Canadian side prevented Seattle from repeating as champions.
If it’s Atlanta United, Seattle will try and do the very same thing to them as ATL attempts to replicate the success they had last year in the MLS Cup.
The Eastern Conference Finals will go down later on this evening in what should prove to be an interesting clash of styles. For now, though, the credit needs to go to Seattle who have been able to prove once and for all why they are so highly regarded as one of the best ever in the MLS.