The Seattle Sounders are the first Major League Soccer club to win Concacaf Champions League, defeating Pumas UNAM 3-0 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate in front of a record-breaking crowd of 68,741 fans at Lumen Field on Wednesday night.
After a nervy opening half in which the Sounders edged the better of the play, Seattle broke the deadlock courtesy of a poacher's finish from Raúl Ruidíaz in the 45th minute. Albert Rusnák weaved his way through several defenders before finding the feet of Xavier Arreaga, who posted up his defender and laid the ball off for Ruidíaz to smash home.
Both teams traded possession and chances throughout the majority of the second half. Pumas came close to equalizing, but Stefan Frei came up with a clutch reflex save to keep the Liga MX side off the board.
With tension rising as the Sounders looked to hold onto their narrow lead, Ruidíaz sent the sold-out crowd at Lumen Field into bedlam when he bagged a second goal in the 80th minute. An excellent sequence of possession resulted in Alex Roldan playing an inch-perfect through-ball to find the run of Jordan Morris down the right flank. Morris picked out Nicolás Lodeiro at the top of the box, and the Sounders captain one-timed a pass into the path of Ruidíaz, who smashed the shot past the Pumas goalkeeper.
Lodeiro then put the cherry on top of the historic win in the CCL Final when he scored a decisive third goal in the 87th minute. Morris nearly scored only to be denied by a spectacular save from Alfredo Talavera, but Lodeiro was on home to dispatch the rebound.
By no means did the Sounders have a cakewalk on the road to this historic achievement. As if overcoming a 2-0 deficit to level it 2-2 on the road in Leg One of the Final wasn't enough, the Sounders were forced into two substitutions in the first half as Nouhou and João Paulo suffered injuries. Given the history of Liga MX dominance in this competition, it seemed like everything was going against the Sounders. But every player on the pitch stepped up and delivered a resounding victory in the biggest match in club history.
Stars Deliver Again
It was only fitting that this unprecedented achievement was spearheaded by the likes of Lodeiro, Ruidíaz and Frei, three players who have helped alter the course of history for this club. As they've done time and time again, the veteran core of this team stepped up on the biggest stage to secure another trophy. Following the match, Frei was given the Best Goalkeeper and Player of the Tournament Awards for the 2022 Concacaf Champions League.
Next Stop: FIFA Club World Cup
In addition to being the first MLS club to win Concacaf Champions League, the Sounders will also be the first to represent the league at the FIFA Club World Cup. They will face the continental champions from across the world. The tournament features the host nation’s domestic champion plus the winners of AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa), Concacaf (North and Central America), CONMEBOL (South America), OFC (Oceania) and UEFA (Europe), all vying to be named world champions.