Seattle Sounders FC Concludes 2018 Season Following Hard-Fought Western Conference Semifinals Second Leg Versus Portland
SEATTLE, WASH. - Despite edging Portland 2-1 in regulation, Seattle Sounders FC bowed out of the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs on penalty kicks in the Western Conference Semifinals to archrival Portland in front of 39,542 fans under the lights at CenturyLink Field. Two goals from Raúl Ruidíaz and a spot-kick from Nicolás Lodeiro deadlocked the series at four aggregate goals apiece, but Portland took the penalty shootout by converting four spot-kicks to Seattle's two, ending Sounders FC's 2018 season in the process. Dating back to 1975, tonight was the 104th matchup between the Cascadia rivals, with Sounders FC leading the all-time series, 51-39-14. Thursday's result ends Sounders FC's 2018 campaign, as the club is eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals in its 10th consecutive postseason appearance. Sounders FC's record across all competitions in 2018 finishes at 21-15-5.
A nervous first half for the home crowd culminated in nearly 70 percent of the match's possession going to Seattle through the first 45 minutes, with the Rave Green earning eight corner kicks to Portland's zero, and four shots to the Timbers' two. Nevertheless, the two sides went into the intermission deadlocked, leaving the series in Portland's hands for the time being due to the Timbers' 2-1 aggregate lead.
Seattle found its coveted goal in the 68th minute of play, as Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella rose to collect a Víctor Rodríguez cross inside his own area, fumbling the ball into the path of Peruvian striker Ruidíaz. The Seattle forward did not waste the opportunity, scoring his second postseason goal in as many games to give the home side the aggregate advantage via away goals. Ruidíaz scored Seattle's lone strike on November 4 at Providence Park.
Portland fired back in the 78th minute through Sebastián Blanco, with the Argentine fielding a pass from teammate Dairon Asprilla at the edge of Seattle's 18-yard box. Blanco finished cleanly at Stefan Frei's far post, leveling the match at one goal apiece, and giving Portland a 3-2 aggregate advantage.
Just when it looked like Portland would advance to the Conference Championship with a 1-1 draw out of the contest, Ruidíaz continued his sensational form in Rave Green, bagging Seattle's second goal of the match in deep into second-half stoppage time, sending the hard-fought contest into extra time. The strike came off a volley at the top of Portland's area, screaming past Attinella following a Portland misclearance. Since joining Sounders FC in the summer transfer window, Ruidíaz has netted 13 goals in 15 starts.
The 30 minutes of extra time picked right up where the second half left off, with Asprilla netting the go-ahead goal in the 93rd minute with a header from a Diego Valeri cross. Seattle counterpunched once more just five minutes later, this time with Nicolás Lodeiro converting a penalty kick from the spot after Blanco was whistled for a handball.
With away goals not counting in extra time, and the series even at four goals apiece, the match advanced to a penalty shootout to decide a winner. Portland advanced 4-2 on penalties, with the Timbers advancing to the Western Conference Championship, ending Seattle's 2018 campaign.
Thursday's result ends Sounders FC's 2018 campaign, as the club is eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals in its 10th consecutive postseason appearance. Sounders FC's record across all competitions in 2018 finishes at 21-15-5.
Sounders FC has now gone to penalty kicks three times in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. The Rave Green previously fell to FC Dallas in the 2015 Western Conference Semifinals and prevailed against Toronto FC in the 2016 MLS Cup Final.
Raúl Ruidíaz scored a brace to give him three goals in his first two Audi MLS Cup Playoff matches, giving him a team-high 13 on the season across all competitions (in just 16 appearances) since joining the club during the summer transfer window. The Peruvian scored Seattle's lone goal in the first leg with a 10th-minute strike on Sunday at Providence Park. His three postseason goals are already tied for third in club history. It was also the third postseason brace in club history, following Nicolás Lodeiro against Dallas in the first leg of the 2016 Western Conference Semifinals and Clint Dempsey against Vancouver in the second leg of the 2017 Western Conference Semifinals.
With the penalty kick in extra time, Nicolás Lodeiro now has five career goals in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, one shy of Clint Dempsey's club record. The Uruguayan finishes the 2018 campaign with 11 goals and 18 assists in 32 appearances across all competitions, including a perfect 6-6 from the penalty spot.
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer's record in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs is now 8-3-2 since taking over for Sounders FC partway through the 2016 campaign.
This marked Sounders FC's 10th appearance in the Western Conference Semifinals, with the club advancing four times and being eliminated six times. Seattle's overall record in the Conference Semifinals is now 6-9-5.
This postseason matchup was the second time the rivals have met in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, as Seattle and Portland faced off in 2013, a 5-3 aggregate win for the Timbers. This is the fifth time Seattle and Portland have met in postseason play across all eras (1975, 2004, 2005, 2013), with the two sides each advancing twice previously.
Sunday was the fifth matchup between Seattle and Portland during the 2018 campaign across all competitions, with the Timbers winning this season's series, 3-2-0. Dating back to 1975, Seattle and Portland have met 104 times, with Sounders FC leading the all-time series, 51-39-14.
With Chad Marshall missing tonight's match due to his meniscus surgery on Tuesday, and Cristian Roldan also out of the lineup with a right hip flexor strain, Román Torres and Harry Shipp appeared in Brian Schmetzer's starting XI. Torres came on in place of the injured Marshall on Sunday in Portland, recording 50 minutes in the first leg of this series. Thursday was his first start since September 23 at LA, while Shipp made his first start since September 15 at Vancouver. MATCH SUMMARY
Seattle Sounders FC 3 (4) - Portland Timbers 2 (4)
Portland Advances 4-2 via Penalty Kicks
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Assistants: Ian B. Anderson, Eduardo Mariscal
Fourth Official: Robert Sibiga
VAR: Chris Penso
Weather: 43 degrees and mostly clear
SEA - Raúl Ruidíaz 68'
POR - Sebastian Blanco (Dairon Asprilla) 78'
SEA - Raúl Ruidíaz 90'+3'
POR - Dairon Asprilla (Diego Valeri) 93'
SEA - Nicolas Lodeiro (penalty) 97'
POR - Lucas Melano - scored
SEA - Raúl Ruidíaz - scored
POR - Diego Valeri - scored
SEA - Will Bruin - missed
POR - Sebastian Blanco - scored
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso - missed
POR - Liam Ridgewell - saved
SEA - Handwalla Bwana - scored
POR - Dairon Asprilla - scored
POR - Andres Flores (caution) 41'
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 70'
POR - Diego Valeri (caution) 96'
SEA - Raúl Ruidíaz (caution) 114'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam (Handwalla Bwana 84'), Kim Kee-hee, Román Torres, Nouhou; Gustav Svensson, Osvaldo Alonso - captain, Harry Shipp (Will Bruin 80'), Nicolás Lodeiro, Víctor Rodríguez (Jordan McCrary EHT); Raúl Ruidíaz
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Alex Roldan, Jordy Delem, Waylon Francis
Total shots: 21 (Ruidíaz, 5)
Shots on goal: 6 (Ruidíaz, 2)
Fouls: 17 (Three players, 3)
Offside: 5 (Ruidíaz, 4)
Corner-kicks: 14 (Lodeiro, 14)
Saves: 4 (Frei, 4)
Portland Timbers - Jeff Attinella; Alvas Powell (Zarek Valentin 103'), Larrys Mabiala, Liam Ridgewell, Jorge Villafaña; Andres Flores (Lawrence Olum 83'), Diego Chara, Andy Polo (Dairon Asprilla 72'), Diego Valeri - captain, Sebastián Blanco; Jeremy Ebobisse (Lucas Melano 89')
Substitutes not used: Steve Clark, Julio Cascante, Bill Tuiloma
Total shots: 11 (Blanco, 3)
Shots on goal: 6 (Six players, 1)
Fouls: 16 (Chara, 4)
Offside: 1 (Ridgewell, 1)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Valeri, 2)
Saves: 3 (Attinella, 2)
Images from this story
Seattle Sounders FC huddle in front of the Seattle crowd
(Mike Fiechtner / Seattle Sounders FC)
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