SEATTLE – It’s official.
For a second straight year the Seattle Sounders are Western Conference champions. And for a second straight year, they’ll travel to BMO Field to take on Toronto FC for a chance to win MLS Cup.
Víctor Rodríguez opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, Clint Dempsey added his third of the playoffs in the 57th and Will Bruin notched the cherry on top in the 73rd, sending the Sounders to a 3-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo in the second leg of the Western Conference Championship matchup between the sides at CenturyLink Field on Thursday.
The result gave the Sounders a 5-0 aggregate triumph, coming off their 2-0 road victory over Houston in the first leg at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Rodríguez broke through with the opener, cashing home a nifty flicked feed from Bruin past Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis to send Seattle to the 3-0 aggregate lead, all-but sealing the series in the first half.
Dempsey would add the insurance for good measure in the 57th, finishing off another pinpoint feed from Joevin Jones and Bruin finished things off with a tally of his own in the 73rd to seal the result.
The whole series went about as smoothly as a playoff series could possibly go for the Sounders, as Seattle never really looked back after Gustav Svensson scored the series opener in the 11th minute of the first leg in Houston. A couple of red cards helped but Seattle continued what has been a blistering postseason run that has seen them score seven goals and concede none.
Sounders forward Jordan Morris hadn’t played since straining his hamstring against the LA Galaxy on Sept. 10 and finally made his long-awaited return on Thursday, making a cameo as a second-half substitute in the 75th minute. It’s an open question as to whether the 23-year-old reigning MLS Rookie of the Year will be 90 minutes fit for MLS Cup, but his skill-set also seems to lend itself well to a super-sub role.
A FAMILIAR FOE
The result means that the Sounders will, once again, take on Eastern Conference Champion Toronto FC with a chance to repeat on the line when the clubs meet for MLS Cup 2017 on Saturday, Dec. 9. The matchup pits the Sounders against a more-than-worthy adversary, as TFC are coming off arguably the most dominant regular season in MLS history. But the Sounders are riding high in their best form of the year and know they’re capable of going to BMO Field to get a result after their penalty kick triumph in last year’s final.