Playing in its first international championship in club history, Seattle Sounders FC came up just short in the 2021 Leagues Cup Final, falling by a final score of 3-2 to Liga MX side Club León at Allegiant Stadium. All five of the match’s goals came in the second half of play, with Cristian Roldan’s opening tally in the 48th minute being nullified by three goals from León to seal the match. Seattle midfielder Nicolas Benezet netted a second strike in second-half stoppage time, but it was not enough for the Rave Green to wrestle control of the match back from the Liga MX side.
Roldan’s 48th minute strike was his first of the tournament and third overall in 2021. Raúl Ruidíaz played Jimmy Medranda down the left flank with a chipped through-ball, and the Colombian wingback found Roldan with a cross for a clean finish. Roldan has two goals and two assists in regular-season play this season, and he recorded a pair of assists in Seattle’s win over Tigres in the Leagues Cup quarterfinals.
León equalized in the 61st minute courtesy of Ángel Mena, who slotted a shot past Stefan Frei after a cross from the left wing. It marked the first goal surrendered by Seattle in 2021 Leagues Cup play. Mena doubled his tally with an 81st-minute penalty kick, while teammate Emmanuel Gigliotti netted León’s third strike four minutes later.
Will Bruin played a ball to fellow substitute Nicolas Benezet at the top of León’s area in the 92nd minute, with the Frenchman hitting a deflected shot into the back of the net, making the score 3-2. Seattle ran out of time to find an equalizer, ending the club’s inaugural run in Leagues Cup.
Seattle reached the Leagues Cup Final after defeating Tigres UANL 3-0 in the quarterfinals and Santos Laguna in the semifinal round. The Rave Green are 6-9-2 all-time against Liga MX sides, with all matches prior to this season coming in Concacaf Champions League play. Leagues Cup is the official annual single-elimination tournament that features clubs from MLS and Liga MX, Mexico’s topflight league. MLS announced yesterday that the tournament is being expanded beginning with the 2023 season.
Brian Schmetzer’s side now shifts its focus back to MLS regular-season action, as the club prepares for Sunday’s critical matchup with Western Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park (4:00 p.m. PT / FS1, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM). Sounders FC enters that contest one point behind Sporting KC.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Club León 3
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Venue: Allegiant Stadium
Referee: Iván Arcides Barton Cisneros
Assistants: Ismael Cornejo, David Moran
Fourth Official: Juan Zumba
VAR: Tatiana Guzman
SEA – Cristian Roldan (Jimmy Medranda) 48’
LEO – Ángel Mena (Elías Hernandez) 61’
LEO – Ángel Mena (PK) 81’
LEO – Emanuel Gigliotti 85’
SEA – Nicolas Benezet (Will Bruin) 90+2’
SEA – Xavier Arreaga (caution) 10’
SEA – João Paulo (caution) 15’
LEO – Santiago Colombatto (caution) 23’
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (caution) 27’
SEA – Cristian Roldan (caution) 82’
LEO – Luis Montes (caution) 90+3’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei – captain; Alex Roldan, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Xavier Arreaga, Shane O’Neill (Nico Benezet 83’), Jimmy Medranda (Brad Smith 68’); João Paulo, Kelyn Rowe (Josh Atencio 83’), Cristian Roldan, Fredy Montero (Will Bruin 77’); Raúl Ruidíaz
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Spencer Richey, AB Cissoko, Nouhou, Danny Leyva, Reed Baker-Whiting, Ethan Dobbelaere, Léo Chú
Total shots: 10
Shots on goal: 2
Club León – Rondolfo Cota; Osvaldo Rodriguez, William Tesillo, Jaine Barreiro, Andres Mosquera (José David Ramírez 59’); Santiago Colombatto, José Rodríguez, Omar Fernández (Luis Montes 71’); Jean Meneses (Elías Hernández 60’), Víctor Dávila (Emanuel Gigliotti 60’), Ángel Mena
Substitutes not used: Iván Vázquez, Pablo Rangel, Ramiro González, Jesse Zamudio, Gil Burón, Oscar Villa, Fidel Ambríz, Santiago Ormeño
Total shots: 8
Shots on goal: 4