For the third time in the last four years, all under Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, the Seattle Sounders are Western Conference Champions.
Unlike in 2016 against Colorado and 2017 facing Houston, this season's West Final opponent stood as the heavy favorite, Supporters Shield winners LAFC, who accumulated the most points in MLS history with 72, featured Carlos Vela and his MLS-record 34 goals scored this year, and played in front of their home crowd for the conference title.
But no matter the numbers, no matter the records, the Sounders plainly shut down LAFC on Tuesday night, winning 3-1 and advancing to MLS Cup again. The hosts, and their potent attack, failed to score in the run of play and only netted one goal, a fantastic free kick by midfielder Eduard Atuesta that left Seattle fans speechless. After that score in the 17th minute, the match saw the Sounders take over and never relinquish control.
Goals by Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro in the 22nd and 26th minutes gave Seattle the lead, then Ruidiaz added one more in the second half as the Sounders shut down LAFC defensively, keeping Vela out of the back of the net, and cruised to the 3-1 win on the road.
In a season that featured Will Bruin tearing an ACL, Chad Marshall, the best defender in league history, retiring out of the blue and Roman Torres being suspended 10 matches for violating the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health policy, the Rave Green under Schmetzer fought through tremendous adversity to make another championship game that could see Seattle hoisting a second MLS Cup in four years.
Next up for the Sounders will either be Atlanta United on the road at Mercedes Benz Stadium, or Toronto FC, in a rematch of 2017 MLS Cup, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Atlanta and Toronto face off in the Eastern Conference Championship on Wednesday evening.
Check out highlights from the 3-1 win below as well as 950 KJR's Postgame Show.