Sounders FC Advances Past LAFC with 3-1 Victory in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs
SEATTLE, WASH. - Seattle Sounders FC kicked off its league-record 12th consecutive postseason campaign with a commanding 3-1 win over Los Angeles FC on Tuesday evening at Lumen Field. The Rave Green's three 2020 MLS Best XI selections were on full display, with NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro, Jordan Morris and RaÃºl RuidÃaz all finding the scoresheet as Seattle ended LAFC's campaign for the second straight season. Brian Schmetzer's side now advances to the Western Conference Semifinals to face FC Dallas on Tuesday, December 1 at Lumen Field (6:30 p.m. PT / FS1, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
The home side went up 1-0 in the 18th minute via all three of Seattle's 2020 MLS Best XI selections. RuidÃaz threaded a long cross from the right flank to Jordan Morris at the far side of the 18-yard-box, who laid a short pass off to Lodeiro for a left-footed finish inside the near post. LAFC had a chance to equalize moments after when Nouhou was whistled for a foul on Carlos Vela inside the area, but Vela's ensuing attempt was saved by Stefan Frei.
After a series of near misses in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, RuidÃaz put the Rave Green up 2-0 in the 66th minute. Lodeiro's corner kick went to the near post and took a deflection off a defender and skipped to the Peruvian, who rocketed a half-volley inside the far post, just past the reach of LAFC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega.
Eduard Atuesta pulled one back for LAFC in the 77th minute, but it took only three minutes for Morris to make it 3-1 on the break, notching his sixth career postseason goal, tying Clint Dempsey for third all-time. Lodeiro began the attack with a precise, looping pass behind the LAFC defense to RuidÃaz, who fed a streaking Morris up the center of the field for a calm finish past Sisniega.
Lodeiro and RuidÃaz's eight postseason goals are tied for the most in club history, while Lodeiro's eight assists also rank first. RuidÃaz has tallied an impressive eight goals and six assists in just seven career appearances in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
For the 12th consecutive season, Sounders FC advances to the Western Conference Semifinals following tonight's result. The Rave Green have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in all 12 of their MLS seasons since entering the league as an expansion side in 2009, the longest postseason streak in MLS history and second longest active streak in the five major American sports.
Dating back to November of 2014, Sounders FC has now won 13 straight games in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, an MLS record.
Seattle remains unbeaten in 2020 in games where the club scores first (11-0-1).
Tonight's contest marked the second meeting in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs between the Rave Green and LAFC, with Seattle posting a record of 2-0-0. Brian Schmetzer's side previously won the 2019 Western Conference Championship, also a 3-1 win for Sounders FC, en route to the 2019 MLS Cup.
Prior to tonight's match, Seattle and LAFC met four times in the 2020 MLS regular season, splitting those games with a record of 2-2-0. Seattle won both contests at Lumen Field, a 3-1 win on August 30 and 3-0 victory on September 18.
Last week NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro, Jordan Morris and RaÃºl RuidÃaz were all named to the 2020 MLS Best XI, and all three players scored on Tuesday night. The three players combined directly on the opening and final goals of the match, with Lodeiro bagging the first strike and Morris tucking home the third and final goal of the evening.
Per Opta, Lodeiro, Morris and RuidÃaz have now scored in the same MLS match four times, more than any other trio of teammates since the start of the 2018 season.
With his goal in the 18th minute of play, Lodeiro bagged his eighth postseason goal in 18 appearances. Lodeiro now has five strikes against LAFC in all competitions, tied with RuidÃaz for the team lead in this category.
Lodeiro's assist on Morris' goal in the 80th minute was the Uruguayan's eighth career postseason assist, vaulting him into first place in club history.
RuidÃaz's sensational postseason form continued on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. With two assists and a goal on the evening, the Peruvian striker now has eight postseason goals and six assists in just seven career playoff appearances.
With eight postseason goals apiece, RuidÃaz and Lodeiro are now tied for the team lead in all-time playoff scoring. Morris' goal in the 80th minute gives him six postseason goals, which ties him with Clint Dempsey for third all-time.
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer improves to 13-3-2 all-time in postseason play, with his 13 wins ranking fifth in league history.
The penalty kick that Stefan Frei saved from Carlos Vela in the first half was just the second postseason penalty that the Seattle goalkeeper has faced in his MLS career. The first came against FC Dallas in 2014.
Seattle Sounders FC 3 - Los Angeles FC 1
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Venue: Lumen Field
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistants: Mike Rottersman, Jeff Hosking
Fourth Official: Alex Chilowicz
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez
Attendance: Closed Door
Weather: 45 degrees and cloudy
SEA - NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro (Jordan Morris, RaÃºl RuidÃaz) 18'
SEA - RaÃºl RuidÃaz 66'
LAFC - Eduard Atuesta (Carlos Vela) 77'
SEA - Jordan Morris (RaÃºl RuidÃaz, NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro) 80'
SEA - NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro (caution) 88'
LAFC - Mohamed El-Munir (caution) 90'+2'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan, Yeimar GÃ³mez Andrade, Shane O'Neill, Nouhou (RomÃ¡n Torres 90'+1'); Cristian Roldan, João Paulo, Joevin Jones (Brad Smith 70'), NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro, Jordan Morris (Jordy Delem 90'); RaÃºl RuidÃaz
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Miguel Ibarra, Josh Atencio, Ethan Dobbelaere, Will Bruin, Jimmy Medranda
Total shots: 13 (Morris, 4)
Shots on goal: 3 (Three players, 1)
Fouls: 18 (Three players, 3)
Offside: 2 (Morris/RuidÃaz, 1)
Corner-kicks: 4 (Lodeiro, 4)
Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)
Los Angeles FC - Pablo Sisniega; Eddie Segura, Jesus David Murillo, Tristan Blackmon, Jordan Harvey (Mohamed El-Munir 56'); Latif Blessing, Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye; Carlos Vela, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Kwadwo Opoku HT), Christian Torres (Adrien Perez 56')
Substitutes not used: Kenneth Vermeer, Dejan Jakovic, Antonio Leone, Erik Duenas, Bryce Duke, Francisco Ginella
Total shots: 12 (Vela, 4)
Shots on goal: 4 (Vela, 2)
Fouls: 14 (Kaye, 3)
Offside: 2 (Kaye/Wright-Phillips, 1)
Corner-kicks: 8 (Vela, 6)
Images from this story
Seattle Sounders FC react after a goal against LAFC
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