Continuing its run in the 2021 Leagues Cup tournament, Sounders FC emerged victorious in dramatic fashion with a 1-0 victory in the semifinals over Liga MX side Santos Laguna Thursday night at Lumen Field. The goal came courtesy of Raúl Ruidíaz, who bagged a goal at the death to send the Rave Green to the Leagues Cup Final at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Seattle will face the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal match between Club León and Pumas UNAM in Sin City on Wednesday, September 22 (7:00 p.m. PT / ESPN2, TUDN, TSN, TVA Sports).
Ruidíaz’s goal came in the third minute of stoppage time, getting past two defenders on a ball from Sounders FC newcomer Léo Chú and slotted in his second attempt after his first was saved by Santos Laguna goalkeeper Gibran Lajud. It was the second goal of the tournament for the Peruvian, who also scored in the club’s 3-0 win over Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals. With 58 goals across all competitions since signing with Seattle in 2018, Ruidíaz passes Clint Dempsey for second all-time in club history, only behind teammate Fredy Montero’s 67.
It was the Sounders FC debut for Chú, who came on as a substitute in the 82nd minute. The 21-year-old was signed from Brazilian club Gremio on August 5.
Stefan Frei recorded his second consecutive shutout after returning from injury on Saturday vs. Minnesota. Seattle’s all-time leader in every goalkeeping category had previously not played since suffering a knee injury on May 12.
Seattle is now 6-8-2 all-time against Liga MX sides, with all fixtures prior to this season’s Leagues Cup matches coming in Concacaf Champions League play. This is the first season the club has competed in Leagues Cup, the official annual single-elimination tournament featuring clubs from MLS and Liga MX, Mexico’s topflight league. Sounders FC is unbeaten in its last four home matches vs. Mexican sides (3-0-1) dating back to 2016.
Prior to next Wednesday’s Leagues Cup Final, Seattle faces off against Real Salt Lake for the first time this season on Saturday, September 18 at Rio Tinto Stadium (6:30 p.m. PT / JOEtv, Prime video, 950 KJR AM, 1360 El Rey AM).
Seattle Sounders FC 1 – Santos Laguna 0
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Venue: Lumen Field
Referee: Keylor Herrera
Assistants: Carlos Fernandez, Victor Ramirez
Fourth Official: Juan Calderon
VAR: Daneion Parchment
Weather: 68 degrees and clear
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz 90’+3’
SEA – Fredy Montero (caution) 39’
SEA – Xavier Arreaga (caution) 71’
SAN – Fernando Gorriaran (caution) 74’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Brad Smith (Jimmy Medranda 67’), Yeimar, Shane O’Neill, Xavier Arreaga, Alex Roldan (Will Bruin 89’); Cristian Roldan, João Paulo, Keyln Rowe (Léo Chú 82’), Fredy Montero (Nicolas Benezet 67’); Raúl Ruidíaz
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Spencer Richey, Danny Leyva, Josh Atencio, Abdoulaye Cissoko
Total shots: 13
Shots on goal: 4
Santos Laguna – Gibran Lajud; Doria, Felix Torres, Omar Campos, Carlos Orrantia; Ronaldo Prieto (Alan Cervantes 81’), Fernando Gorriaran, Juan Ferney Otero, Diego Valdes, Brian Lozano (Jesus Ocejo 82’); Alessio Da Cruz (Jordan Carillo 81’)
Substitutes not used: Ignacio Jeraldino, Hugo Rodriguez, Jose Avila, Jesus Isijara, Ismael Govea, Joel Garcia, Andres Ibarguen, Jonathan Diaz
Total shots: 13
Shots on goal: 2