western conference championship 2019
Mike Fiechtner

MATCH RECAP: Sounders FC earns 3-1 victory in Western Conference Championship

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – In front of a sold-out crowd with a spot in MLS Cup on the line, Sounders FC defeated Los Angeles FC on Tuesday evening by a 3-1 margin at Banc of California Stadium. Raúl Ruidíaz scored a brace for Seattle and Nicolás Lodeiro added another as Seattle advanced to MLS Cup on Sunday, November 10 (12:00 p.m. PT / ABC, Univision, TUDN, TSN, TVAS). Sounders FC will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship tomorrow between Atlanta United FC and Toronto FC (5:00 p.m. PT / FS1, TVAS, TSN ¼, FOX Deportes). If Toronto defeats Atlanta tomorrow evening, Seattle will host MLS Cup at CenturyLink Field.

MEDIA RESOURCES

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: https://sndrs.com/wac9m

PHOTOS - IMAGES FOR MEDIA USE: https://sndrs.com/qfyvs  

AUDIO - DOWNLOADABLE POST-MATCH SOUNDBYTES: http://sndrs.com/audio

Rave Green Head Coach Brian Schmetzer made just one change to the starting lineup that ousted Real Salt Lake from the postseason on October 23, as Xavier Arreaga came into central defense for teammate Román Torres. The Panamanian veteran was included in the 18-man roster, but made way for Arreaga amongst the starters after suffering a left hamstring strain in the club’s last outing.

The home side took an early lead in the 17th minute of play, as Eduard Atuesta converted a free kick that was earned by Carlos Vela just outside of Seattle’s 18-yard-box. After referee Jair Marrufo ruled that Vela had been fouled by Seattle midfielder Gustav Svensson, Atuesta stepped up to slot a perfectly placed shot to Stefan Frei’s right, making the score 1-0 in the process.

But Seattle responded quickly, quieting the home crowd through the efforts of striker Raúl Ruidíaz in the 22nd minute of play. Receiving a through ball from Jordan Morris, the Peruvian slammed a shot past LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller at his near post, leveling the contest at one goal apiece. For Ruidíaz, the tally was his fifth goal in just five outings in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

Four minutes later, captain Nicolás Lodeiro vaulted Sounders FC into the lead, taking a Joevin Jones pass at the top of the LAFC area and slotting a quick shot past an outstretched Miller. At 2-1, Lodeiro passed Clint Dempsey for the most postseason goals in Sounders FC history, as the Uruguayan recorded his team-best seventh playoff strike on the play.

With LAFC pressing to equalize in the second half of play, Sounders FC secured a third goal on the counterattack, once again through a streaking Ruidíaz. Bagging his sixth postseason goal, the Peruvian took aim at Miller’s near post again, burying the shot into the back of the net. Lodeiro played the role of creator on the play, earning his fifth all-time postseason assist.

Sounders FC now goes on to face the winner of tomorrow night’s Eastern Conference Championship matchup between Atlanta United FC and Toronto FC. If Toronto defeats Atlanta tomorrow evening, Seattle will host MLS Cup at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, November 10.

MATCH NOTES 

  • With tonight’s result, Sounders FC advances to MLS Cup to take on the winner of tomorrow night’s Eastern Conference Championship between Atlanta United FC and Toronto FC. If Toronto defeats Atlanta tomorrow evening, Seattle will host MLS Cup at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, November 10.
  • Seattle is 1-1 all-time in MLS Cup, as they bested Toronto FC in 2016 by penalty shootout and fell to Toronto in 2017 by a 2-0 score. Both contests were played at BMO Field in Toronto.
  • Sounders FC tonight recorded its first ever win over LAFC, improving to 1-3-1 all-time against Los Angeles FC.
  • Ruidíaz has now recorded six goals and three assists in five career playoff matches, including three goals and three assists in three games this season. His brace tonight was the second of his playoff career, as he tallied two markers on November 8, 2018 against Portland. Ruidíaz is now tied for second in club history in postseason goals with six. Tonight’s match was the first for Ruidíaz against LAFC in his career.
  • Lodeiro now owns seven goals and six assists in 16 career playoff games, including two goals and four assists and three games this season. Lodeiro tonight became Sounders FC’s all-time leading postseason goal scorer, surpassing Clint Dempsey. Lodeiro is now in sole position of fourth among active players in postseason goals scored. He trails only Bradley Wright-Phillips (9), Jozy Altidore (8) and Will Bruin (8).
  • Jones has now recorded seven assists in 14 career playoff games and tops Sounders FC’s all-time assist leaderboard. He is now tied for second among active players in postseason assists, trailing only Lee Nguyen (8) and tied with Diego Valeri (7).

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 3 – Los Angeles FC 1

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Venue: Banc of California Stadium

Referee: Jair Marrufo

Assistants: Frank Anderson, Logan Brown

Fourth Official: Ted Unkel

Attendance: 22,099

Weather: 72 degrees and clear

SCORING SUMMARY

LAFC – Eduard Atuesta 17’

SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (Nicolás Lodeiro, Jordan Morris) 22’

SEA – Nicolás Lodeiro (Joevin Jones) 26’

SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (Nicolás Lodeiro) 64’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

SEA – Kelvin Leerdam 81’

SEA – Nouhou 90’+3’

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Kim Kee-Hee, Xavier Arreaga, Brad Smith (Román Torres 88’); Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan; Joevin Jones (Jordy Delem 64’), Nicolás Lodeiro, Jordan Morris (Nouhou 76’); Raúl Ruidíaz

Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Victor Rodríguez, Harry Shipp, Luis Silva

Total shots: 11 (Ruidíaz, 5)

Shots on goal: 5 (Ruidíaz, 3)

Fouls: 12 (Leerdam/Lodeiro, 3)

Offside: 3 (Ruidíaz, 2)

Corner-kicks: 2 (Lodeiro, 2)

Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)

Los Angeles FC – Tyler Miller; Eddie Segura, Jordan Harvey, Tristan Blackmon, Walker Zimmerman; Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing (Mark-Anthony Kaye HT), Lee Nguyen (Adrien Pérez 77’); Brian Rodriguez (Adama Diomande 53’), Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela
Substitutes not used: Dejan Jakovic, Mohamed El-Munir, Steven Beitashour

Total shots: 14 (Diomande, 3)

Shots on goal: 4 (four tied, 1)

Fouls: 9 (Atuesta, 4)

Offside: 1 (Rossi, 1)

Corner-kicks: 9 (Vela, 6)

Saves: 2 (Miller, 2)

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