Just when you thought 2020 couldn't get any crazier, it did on Monday night.
Down 2-0 in the 75th minute, the Seattle Sounders faced the end of their season, playing Minnesota United in the Western Conference Final. Goals by Emanuel Reynoso in the 29th minute and Bakaye Dibassy in the 67th minute put the Rave Green on the brink of the off-season.
But Head Coach Brian Schmetzer heard no fat lady singing.
Brad Smith and Kelvin Leerdam, starters in 2019 MLS Cup, entered the match in the 70th minute. Will Bruin followed as a substitute shortly thereafter. And with two forwards and full compliment of attacking weapons, the Sounders went to work.
In the 75th, Leerdam passed a ball to Raul Ruidiaz into the box, who then turned and sent a shot towards goal. That ball deflected off of a defender and to Bruin, who calmly put it past goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair for the first strike. For the next 15 minutes, Seattle kept flying in crosses and attacking from all angles, trying to equalize the game before the final whistle.
Just before reaching added time, Ruidiaz found his chance. A Nicolas Lodeiro cross skipped off Minnesota defender Michael Boxall and to the Sounders striker. With nobody in his path, Ruidiaz put the shot past St. Clair for the equalizer.
Four minutes later, with Seattle staying on the front foot and punching Minnesota's defense like a rested boxer in the 12th round of a prize fight against a fighter with nothing left to give, the Rave Green scored a shot that will live in franchise history forever. A Lodeiro cross reached the head of Gustav Svensson, who entered the match in the 77th minute, and sailed into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal.
Minnesota sent numbers forward, now inexplicably losing, but had no gas left in the tank. The final whistle sounded and one of the greatest comeback victories in MLS history, one of the greatest victories in Sounders history, was complete.
And for the fourth time in the last five years, the club is going back to MLS Cup. Take a moment. Breathe.
Only DC United reached four MLS Cup appearances in five years, winning the title in 1996, 1997, and 1999. The DC dynasty also reached the title game in 1998 but failed to make an appearance in 2000. The Sounders joined that rare group with Monday's victory and will now face the Columbus Crew on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio at 5:00 p.m. PST.
The Crew defeated the New England Revolution 2-0 on Sunday to advance to MLS Cup and earned the right to host because Columbus finished the season with a 1.78 points per game mark while Seattle finished with 1.77. Yes, it was that close.
0.01 points per game may decide the location of MLS Cup, but for the Sounders, winning big games on the road isn't anything new or different. In 2016, Seattle defeated Toronto FC on the road in penalty kicks for the club's first MLS Cup championship. And in 2019, the Rave Green upset powerhouse LAFC in Los Angeles for the Western Conference Championship before winning their second Cup the following week at home.
And now, back on the road goes the club, riding high off of the emotions of a victory no Sounders fan will ever forget. While no fans were able to see the match in person at Lumen Field, few will forget where they were when Svensson rewrote the history books.
In a year of sadness and pain, turmoil and injustice, and uncertainty of our future, Monday night created a new stream of tears. Joy.
Watch highlights and listen to KJR's Postgame Show below.