Sounders FC was eliminated from the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs Tuesday evening by Real Salt Lake via penalty kicks following 120 minutes of scoreless action. Second-seeded Seattle’s 13th consecutive postseason berth ended in Round One to seventh-seeded RSL, falling out in the first round for the first time since 2011. The Rave Green’s 2021 campaign ends with the club compiling a 19-9-10 record across all competitions.
Despite not registering a shot in 120 minutes of scoreless action, RSL defeated Sounders FC via penalties 6-5. It was the sixth all-time match between the two sides across four separate postseasons, with each club eliminating the other twice.
• Tuesday’s match marked the sixth all-time postseason meeting between the Rave Green and RSL. Seattle is now 3-1-2 in those matchups, having eliminated the Utah club from the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2012 and 2019. In addition to this season, RSL eliminated Seattle from the postseason in 2011.
• Including postseason play, Seattle is now 15-14-7 all-time against RSL, including a 13-4-4 mark at Lumen Field.
• Prior to tonight’s match, the teams met on two occasions this season, with the home team winning each. Cristian Roldan and Raúl Ruidíaz scored second-half goals as Sounders FC took a 2-1 win June 23 at Lumen Field, then Damir Kreilách scored the game’s only goal early in the second half as RSL took the win on September 18 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
• Despite the penalty shootout loss, Sounders FC has now shut out RSL in five-consecutive postseason games.
• Tonight’s crowd of 34,012 was the best standalone attendance at Lumen Field for the 2021 MLS season, with crowds returning to Sounders FC home matches earlier this year amidst evolving pandemic protocols. Only the August 29 doubleheader alongside OL Reign’s matchup against the Portland Thorns had a larger crowd this season (45,737 saw Sounders FC play the Portland Timbers that day).
• Jordan Morris made his first start of 2021 tonight after a pair of substitute appearances at the end of the regular season against the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, respectively. The Mercer Island native suffered a torn ACL in February while on loan to Swansea City of the English Championship.
• Head Coach Brian Schmetzer made four changes to the starting group that completed the regular season with a 1-1 draw in Vancouver. Shane O’Neill replaced Nouhou at left centerback, with the Cameroonian out of the team due to health and safety protocols. Kelyn Rowe moved to right wingback in place of Alex Roldan, with the latter on the bench due to a hip flexor strain. João Paulo made his return to the starting lineup from a hamstring strain in place of Josh Atencio, while Jordan Morris got his first start of the season in midfield following Rowe’s move to the backline.
• Following tonight’s result, Seattle concludes its 13th-consecutive postseason campaign, with the Rave Green holding both the active and all-time MLS postseason qualification streak. The run also ranks second among the active postseason streak leaders in all five major U.S. men’s sports leagues, behind only the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins (15 straight postseason appearances).
Seattle Sounders FC 0 (5) – Real Salt Lake 0 (6)
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Venue: Lumen Field
Referee: Joe Dickerson
Assistants: Logan Brown, Chris Elliott
Fourth Official: Victor Rivas
VAR: Tim Ford
Weather: 45 degrees and partly cloudy
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (scored)
RSL – Aaron Herrera (scored)
SEA – João Paulo (scored)
RSL – Pablo Ruiz (scored)
SEA – Abdoulaye Cissoko (scored)
RSL – Damir Kreilach (scored)
SEA – Alex Roldan (scored)
RSL – Bobby Wood (scored)
SEA – Nico Lodeiro (scored)
RSL – Marcelo Silva (scored
SEA – Kelyn Rowe (saved)
RSL – Justen Glad (scored)
RSL – David Ochoa (caution) 50’
SEA – Nicolas Benezet (caution) 53’
RSL – Everton Luiz (caution) 72’
RSL – Justen Glad (caution) 82’
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (caution) 108’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Kelyn Rowe, Yeimar, Xavier Arreaga (Abdoulaye Cissoko 120’), Shane O’Neill, Brad Smith (Josh Atencio 91’); João Paulo, Cristian Roldan, Nicolas Benezet (Alex Roldan 83’), Jordan Morris (Nico Lodeiro 104’); Fredy Montero (Raúl Ruidíaz HT)
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Reed Baker-Whiting, Danny Leyva, Léo Chú
Total shots: 21
Shots on goal: 3
Real Salt Lake – David Ochoa; Andrew Brody (Ashtone Morgan 106’), Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera, Marcelo Silva; Pablo Ruiz, Damir Kreilach, Jonathan Menedez (Justin Meram 63’), Maikel Chang (Anderson Julio 81’), Everton Luiz; Rubio Rubin (Bobby Wood 74’)
Substitutes not used: Donny Toia, Nick Besler, Zac MacMath, Erik Holt, Toni Datkovic
Total shots: 0
Shots on goal: 3