Stefan Frei the save USA today
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Ahead of the Seattle Sounders’ 12th straight postseason, a look back at the 12 best MLS Cup Playoff moments

Twelve and counting.

As the Seattle Sounders gear up for their 12th consecutive MLS Cup Playoffs appearance, let’s take a look back at the 12 best postseason moments in the club’s MLS franchise history.


Mario Martínez vs. Real Salt Lake — 2012 Western Conference Semifinals, Second Leg

Martínez bagged his first goal of the season in dramatic fashion, scoring in the 81st minute to lift the Sounders to a 1-0 aggregate victory over RSL and help Seattle win its first MLS postseason series in club history.

Erik Friberg vs. LA Galaxy — 2015 Knockout Round

Friberg scored a beautiful half-volley in the 73rd minute to give the Sounders a 3-2 win over the LA Galaxy and lead them to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Nelson Valdez vs. Sporting Kansas City — 2016 Knockout Round

Valdez picked a great time to score his first goal of the season, heading in an 88th-minute game-winner to send the Sounders to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Three goals in eight minutes vs. FC Dallas — 2016 Western Conference Semifinals, First Leg

After a scoreless first half, the Sounders came out blazing in the second half, scoring three times in eight minutes against top-seeded FC Dallas to all but effectively end the series. Valdez scored for the second straight match in the 50th minute before 2016 MLS Newcomer of the Year Nicolás Lodeiro recorded a brace in the 55th and 58th minutes.

FC Dallas would win 2-1 in the return leg, but the Sounders would advance to the Western Conference Championship 4-2 on aggregate.

Jordan Morris Flu Game vs. Colorado Rapids — 2016 Western Conference Championship, Second Leg

After defeating the Rapids 2-1 at CenturyLink Field in the first leg, former Colorado Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni infamously said his team was going to “asphyxiate [the Sounders]” at altitude in the return leg.

2016 MLS Rookie of the Year and Homegrown forward Morris had been battling flu-like symptoms for days before the match in Commerce City, and all he did was score a 56th-minute match-winner to send the Sounders to their first Western Conference Championship title and first MLS Cup appearance in club history.

Stefan Frei’s “The Save” vs. Toronto FC — 2016 MLS Cup

In a moment that needs no introduction, Frei made the greatest save in MLS Cup history when his stoppage-time acrobatics inexplicably kept out a Jozy Altidore header that was destined for the far corner.

Frei’s heroics kept the match scoreless and headed to penalty kicks, which paved the way for…

Román Torres’ PK vs. Toronto FC — 2016 MLS Cup

A little more than a year after tearing his ACL, Torres stepped up in the sixth round of penalties with a chance to win the Sounders’ first MLS Cup. The hulking center back calmly fired his shot down the middle and past a diving Clint Irwin to bring the trophy home to Seattle.

Dempsey double vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 2017 Western Conference Semifinals, Second Leg

Following a scoreless draw in British Columbia in the first leg, Clint Dempsey recorded a second-half brace in the return match to take down the Sounders’ Cascadia rivals and send Seattle back to the Western Conference Championship for the second straight year.

Raúl Ruidíaz forces extra time vs. Portland Timbers — 2018 Western Conference Semifinals, Second Leg

After signing midseason, Sounders Designated Player forward Ruidíaz came up clutch by scoring a ridiculous volley in the third minute of stoppage time to force extra time against the Timbers. The Sounders would fall in penalty kicks, but the goal was already Ruidíaz’s third in just two playoff matches.

Jordan Morris hat trick vs. FC Dallas — 2019 Western Conference First Round

Morris picked the perfect time to score his first career hat trick in a back-and-forth 4-3 win over FC Dallas in the opening round of the single-elimination 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. He found the eventual match-winner in the 113th minute when he headed home a loose ball off a deflection and sent the Sounders into the Western Conference Semifinals.

Raúl Ruidíaz sinks LAFC — 2019 Western Conference Championship

Ruidíaz scored the opener for the Sounders in the first half before Lodeiro gave the Sounders a 2-1 lead. Then in the 64th minute, Lodeiro found Ruidíaz, who iced the match with a clever bit of skill to lift Seattle to an incredible 3-1 win at the home of the Supporters’ Shield winners and vault the Sounders back to MLS Cup for the third time in four seasons.

Víctor Rodríguez seals second title — 2019 MLS Cup

With a 1-0 lead in the 76th minute of last year’s MLS Cup, Rodríguez danced around defenders before slotting home the ultimate match-winner. The Spaniard came off the bench in the 61st minute and completely changed the game en route to earning MLS Cup MVP honors and helping the Sounders earn their second MLS Cup trophy in four years.

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