The Seattle Sounders face their most rigorous test yet as they square off against LAFC in the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday, Nov. 26 (6:30 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM, Sirius XM FC 157 | TICKETS).
“Both teams are going to come out with an intensity and make sure that this isn't their last game of the season,” said defender Alex Roldan. “So, the stakes are very high.”
It will be a dog fight from the first whistle as both teams rounded into form to close out the 2023 MLS regular season before confidently winning their respective Round One matchups.
“It's going to be a battle,” said forward Jordan Morris. “We know what the rivalry means, so it's going be a fun [match].”
Sunday’s Western Conference Semifinal will be a meeting between two clubs that have redefined what it means to be a successful MLS club.
Since joining Major League Soccer in 2009, the Sounders have qualified for the postseason in 14 of 15 seasons, making the MLS Cup final on four occasions and winning the championship twice. The Rave Green have also collected four U.S. Open Cup titles, one Supporters’ Shield, and last year they became the first MLS club to win Concacaf Champions League.
LAFC, meanwhile, have enjoyed ample success during their brief tenure in MLS. In 2019, the Black & Gold won the Supporters’ Shield, setting a league points record in just their second season. Last year, LAFC won the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double. They also came close to winning a CCL title of their own earlier this year before falling to León in the final.
“[LAFC] is a very good team ever since they came into the league,” said midfielder Albert Rusnák. “So, this upcoming matchup will be tough and we're aware of the things that they do well, but we also have quality and we have things that we have been working on that have been [performing well] in games too.”
And now with No. 1 seed St. Louis CITY SC out of playoff contention, the two highest ranked teams in the Western Conference go head-to-head in what will be a highly competitive, make-or-break match you won’t want to miss.
“All 11 guys on the field are going to need to do their part on the defensive side of the ball to shut down a team like this because they're really, really good going forward,” said Morris. “And then it's just taking the opportunities when they present themselves in front of goal.”
The last time the two teams matched up in the playoffs was back in 2020, when Seattle’s attacking trident of Nicolás Lodeiro, Raúl Ruidíaz and Morris powered the Rave Green to a 3-1 victory over LAFC at home.
Now, the Sounders hope to produce another magical moment against LAFC in the postseason under the lights at Lumen Field.
“Coming from the Western Conference, these are the two top teams that everybody's looking at,” said Roldan. “And so, we're hoping to go out there and make sure that we advance.”