For eight years, the Seattle Sounders failed to reach an MLS Cup final. The club was routinely in the mix as a perennial powerhouse, but repeatedly fell short in postseason play despite frequently entering as favorites.
On Sunday, the Sounders finally broke through thanks to the play of their young star, reaching MLS Cup for the first time in what has likely been the club’s most up-and-down season.
Jordan Morris provided a second-half finish, pushing the Sounders to a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids. The win earned the Sounders a 3-1 aggregate victory, while eliminating the second-seed Rapids in the West finals.
The Sounders will now play the winner of the Toronto FC-Montreal Impact series, which heads to Toronto on Wednesday with the Impact holding a 3-2 first-leg edge. The Sounders would host the MLS Cup final if Montreal wins the East final, while TFC would host the final with a series win against the Impact.
Morris broke the deadlock in the 56th minute, giving the Sounders what proved to be an insurmountable advantage. After the Sounders claimed the ball in the midfield, in-form forward Nelson Valdez played provider, feeding Morris on the left side. The rookie forward looped a shot over a sliding Zac MacMath, giving the Sounders a 1-0 lead on the day and 3-1 lead on aggregate.
The goal saw Morris become only the second rookie goalscorer in Conference Final history, joining current Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney. Valdez, meanwhile, played a part in a postseason goal for the third time in recent weeks.
The Rapids certainly had their chances, especially in the first half. However, the hosts never truly threatened the Sounders net throughout the opening stanza, save for an acrobatic Jermaine Jones flick that went up and over the goal.
By the end of the match, the Rapids outshot the Sounders, 15 to 4, but goalkeeper Stefan Frei was forced to make zero saves for the eventual victors.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Injured and ill, Jordan Morris was in poor shape on Sunday afternoon. However, like a true star, Morris persevered, and provided Sunday’s deciding goal.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Jordan Morris’ goal all but sealed the Sounders’ spot in the MLS Cup. The finish gave the Sounders a two-goal cushion and a vital away goal, making it one of the most important finishes in club history.
MATCH TO FORGET
Shkelzen Gashi was the Rapids’ most active player on the day, but he was also the most wasteful. The Albanian star had several chances to provide a vital goal, but failed to take any of them as his team was shutout to end the season.