Sounders FC Advances to 2020 MLS Cup Final with 3-2 Thrilling Comeback Win over Minnesota United FC
SEATTLE, WASH. - Sounders FC secured its fourth MLS Cup appearance in five seasons with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Minnesota United FC Monday evening in the Western Conference Final. After Minnesota carried a 2-0 lead into the final 15 minutes of play, Seattle stormed back with three late goals from Will Bruin, RaÃºl RuidÃaz and Gustav Svensson, clinching the club's fourth Western Conference crown since 2016. Brian Schmetzer's side now faces Columbus Crew SC in the league's championship fixture next Saturday, December 12 at MAPFRE Stadium, with a 5:00 p.m. PT kickoff on FOX.
Minnesota United got on the board first in the 29th minute when Emanuel Reynoso struck a free kick from distance that slotted into the bottom right corner past the fingertips of Stefan Frei. In the 53rd minute the Rave Green appeared to bring it level courtesy of RaÃºl RuidÃaz, but after video review, the referee determined RuidÃaz fouled a Minnesota defender on his scoring chance, negating the goal. Minnesota made it 2-0 in the 67th minute when Bakaye Dibassy's head found the end of a free kick, doubling the Loons' lead.
Bruin quickly answered to halve Minnesota's advantage in the 75th minute, when a deflected shot by RuidÃaz found the feet of Bruin, who slotted it into the bottom left corner to bring Sounders FC within one goal. RuidÃaz evened the score in the 89th minute when a deflected corner found his feet from point-blank range. Svensson found the back of the net in the 93rd minute to give the Rave Green a 3-2 lead, securing the emphatic victory.
Sounders FC now heads to Central Ohio for the 2020 MLS Cup on Saturday, December 12 to face Columbus Crew SC, who defeated the New England Revolution on Sunday in the Eastern Conference Final. This marks Seattle's fourth MLS Cup Final appearance in the last five seasons (2016, 2017, 2019), and the first time Seattle has faced a team other than Toronto in the league's championship match.
For the fourth time in the past five seasons, Seattle advances to MLS Cup. Since 2016, Sounders FC has represented the Western Conference in MLS Cup in three prior occasions (2016, 2017, 2019), raising the trophy twice (2016, 2019).
With tonight's win, Seattle extends its home postseason winning streak to 15 games, an MLS record.
By advancing to the 2020 MLS Cup, Seattle joins D.C. United as the only clubs in MLS history to make four finals in a five-season span.
Since taking over as Sounders FC Head Coach, Brian Schmetzer is four for four in MLS Western Conference Finals (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020), and his postseason record of 15-3-2 is good for the highest winning percentage in MLS Cup Playoffs history (.800).
With tonight's victory, Seattle is the first team to come from two goals behind in regular time in an MLS Cup Playoffs match since 2009.
Per ESPN Stats & Research, prior to this year, no team had ever won a playoff game in which it trailed at the end of 88 minutes. Seattle is the second team to do so in 2020.
With nine playoff goals apiece, Will Bruin and RaÃºl RuidÃaz are now tied with Jozy Altidore and Bradley Wright-Phillips for the most career postseason goals among active players.
RuidÃaz now has nine goals in nine MLS Cup Playoffs matches, accompanying his six assists in those contests.
With late goals from Bruin and Gustav Svensson, two different Seattle substitutes scored in the same match for the second time in the club's MLS history (Obafemi Martins and Leo Gonzalez on June 13, 2015 vs. FC Dallas).
Will Bruin has now scored four goals in six career MLS games against Minnesota, the most of any Sounder.
Due to 2020's unbalanced schedule because of COVID-19, tonight's Western Conference Final was just the first meeting of the season between Seattle and Minnesota.
Monday's match was the first-ever postseason meeting between the Rave Green and Minnesota, with Seattle now holding a 6-0-1 record against the Loons, including a 4-0-0 mark at Lumen Field.
Minnesota United FC's Osvaldo Alonso returned to Lumen Field on Monday for just the second time since signing with Minnesota as free agent in the 2018 offseason after 10 seasons in Seattle. Alonso is Sounders FC's all-time leader in appearances, starts and minutes after signing with the club prior to its inaugural MLS season in 2009, helping Sounders FC to four U.S. Open Cup titles (2009-2011, 2014), the 2014 Supporters' Shield and the 2016 MLS Cup championship.
Seattle Head Coach Brian Schmetzer kept the same starting lineup as the past two MLS Cup Playoff games against FC Dallas on December 1 and LAFC on November 24.
With the assist on Svensson's match-winner header, club captain NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro earned his 10th postseason assist. His is first in club history in playoff assists.
Lodeiro's 10 career postseason assists are not only a club record, but also the most among active MLS players. He is now tied for fifth in league history in this category. He now has assists in seven consecutive postseason matches.
Seattle Sounders FC 3 - Minnesota United FC 2
Monday, December 7, 2020
Venue: Lumen Field
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistants: Corey Rockwell, Cameron Blanchard
Fourth Official: Joseph Dickerson
VAR: Timothy Ford
Attendance: Closed Door
Weather: 53 degrees and clear
MIN - Emanuel Reynoso 29'
MIN - Bakaye Dibassy (Emanuel Reynoso 67')
SEA - Will Bruin 75'
SEA - RaÃºl RuidÃaz 89'
SEA - Gustav Svensson (NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro 90'+3')
SEA - Alex Roldan (caution) 9'
SEA - Shane O'Neill (caution) 27'
MIN - Bakaye Dibassy (caution) 62'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan (Kelvin Leerdam 70'), Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Shane O'Neill, Nouhou (Brad Smith 70'); Cristian Roldan, João Paulo (Will Bruin 73'), Joevin Jones (Gustav Svensson 77'), NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro, Jordan Morris; RaÃºl RuidÃaz
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, RomÃ¡n Torres, Xavier Arreaga, Jordy Delem, Jimmy Medranda
Total shots: 24 (RuidÃaz, 8)
Shots on goal: 5 (RuidÃaz, 2)
Fouls: 11 (A. Roldan, 4)
Offside: 3 (Lodeiro, 3)
Corner-kicks: 10 (Lodeiro, 10)
Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)
Minnesota United FC - Dayne St. Clair; Romain Metanire (Hassani Dotson 40'), Michael Boxall, Bakaye Dibassy, Chase Gaspar; Jan Gregus, Osvaldo Alonso, Ethan Finlay (Kei Kamara 70'), Emanuel Reynoso, Kevin Molino; Robin Lod (Aaron Schoenfeld 90'+4')
Substitutes not used: Adrian Zendejas, Brent Kallman, Jose Aja, Marlon Hairston, Jacord Hayes, Thomas Chacon
Total shots: 7 (Molino, 2)
Shots on goal: 5 (Five players, 1)
Fouls: 15 (Six players, 2)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Reynoso, 5)
Saves: 2 (St. Clair, 2)
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