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Sounders roll over Pumas to become first MLS team to win a CCL title

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SEATTLE — A sold-out crowd at Lumen Field cheered their Seattle Sounders on in hopes of helping spur them on to a historic result and the Sounders delivered just that, and also helped end a drought for Major League Soccer on the process.

Raul Ruidiaz’s two second-half goals, and Nicolas Lodeiro’s insurance tally helped the Sounders roll past UNAM Pumas on the way to a 3-0 second-leg triumph in the second leg of their Concacaf Champions League final.

With the victory, the Sounders became the first MLS team to win the CCL title, snapping the Liga MX stranglehold on the title, and helping provide some redemption for Sounders president and general manager Garth Lagerway, who suffered through a CCL Final defeat as general manager of Real Salt Lake in 2011.

After a contentious 2-2 draw in the first leg in Mexico City, Pumas set out to play a physical match on Wednesday night, and it showed from the start. The reigning Liga MX champions racked up the fouls and the Sounders suffered some key first-half injuries, losing standout left back Nouhou Tolo and midfield ace Joao Paulo.

The Sounders held a considerable edge in shots heading toward halftime, but found their opener a minute before the break when Raul Ruidiaz sent a deflected shot past Alfredo Talavera to make the score 1-0.

The Sounders continued to control the play in the second half, but Pumas nearly found an equalizer in the 65th minute, only to have Stefan Frei deny Diogo De Oliveira with a spectacular save.

The Sounders created some breathing room in the 80th minute when Ruidiaz finished off a beautiful passing sequence with a perfect near-post finish.

Nicolas Lodeiro provided the final score, scoring in the 88th minute to set off celebrations at Lumen Field.

The Sounders joined D.C. United and the LA Galaxy as the only MLS teams to win a Concacaf title, and the first to win the Concacaf Champions League since the tournament’s format changed in 2007. Liga MX teams had dominated the competition, defeating MLS teams repeatedly, but the Sounders ended the drought on Wednesday night, adding the Concacaf Champions League title to their two MLS Cup titles, four U.S. Open Cup titles and Supporters’ Shield during their MLS era.

Comments

  1. It’s far from equal, this is the first title won by a MLS club since 2008, meaning that Liga MX has won all the others. It’s like if the Clippers would win a title do you really think they would equal the Lakers? They’d have to win at least 5 or 6 more to even have that conversation. That being said well done Seattle. its gonna be fun to watch them in the FIFA Club World Cup.

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  2. Interesting the same people that spot off that all of our players in Europe are automatically better than MLS and who complained about only finishing 3rd in qualifying want Laggerway and Schmetzer. Schmetzer is a master at squad rotation. He doesn’t win Supporters Shields he wins the ones he has to. Seattle hasn’t been very good at developing talent and sending them on either. They buy foreign players that are good values and mix them with mid level American talent. Not really a skill that translates to NT GM.

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  3. Well done Seattle! It’s a huge moment for MLS and all of US soccer. We could all see how much better the top MLS teams have become over the last few years, but until one of them finally proved it on the field, MLS would always be second best to Liga MX. Not saying MLS is better all of a sudden, but there is now solid proof that the leagues are much closer in quality than they used to be. And I will second the idea of Schmetzer and Lagerway getting involved with the USMNT in the future, give me solid resume accomplishments over potential and reputation every time.

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    • I think that last year’s game between MLS All Stars and Liga MX All Stars showed the existing parity between the two leagues now. I think it might have been 6 years ago I predicted that MLS would equal Liga MX in about 3-5 years, so I was a little off.

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    • The insistence on parity in American sports has hurt MLS and may continue to haunt them because the rising tide must lift all boats.

      At some point MLS is going to have to admit all investment and markets are not equal and allow the teams that want to spend – like Seattle! – to spend and build teams really, really worth watching.

      Personally I think MLS needs to decide to become MLS 1 and MLS 2, aim for 40+ teams. and institute pro/rel with shared revenue between the tiers…and allow teams at the top to add onto the cap somehow, maybe with additional DP spots, or maybe by buying the slots for actual cash off the teams that don’t want to (or can’t afford to) spend.

      Limiting Seattle to the cap of San Jose is dumb.

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  4. Meant to ask, does club world championship tournament have a date yet? Isn’t it usually held around the time the World Cup is happening?

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  5. Job well done Sounders and Seattle fans! As a DCU fan still made me happy to see anMLS side thrash a Mexican team in the final leg to take Concacaf title. Love how Seattle embraces its soccer. My daughter lives in West Seattle and having visited it’s awesome to see so many fields in use. As good as DC metro or better.

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  6. Amazing win! Monkey off of our collective backs!

    The only disappointment is how few comments the article generated here. I think we would have more comments to an article about Matthew Hoppe’s plans for the summer. Only because he is in Europe

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  7. At last. A couple of thoughts. They will need to improve to win any games in the world club championship, IMO. In this playoff series they often did not pass well in the final third and showed other weaknesses. It would be nice if they could get another quality DP. Rusnak played pretty well tonight. I had thought that he did not play very well before this and had been a disappointment. Hopefully it just took him time to get used to his new team. Finally, although the USMNT management seems set for a while. I think in the future, depending on how far in the future, both Schmetzer and Lagerway should be considered for jobs as USMNT coach and USMNT general manager respectively. Over the last half dozen years Seattle has been probably the most consistently good team and their accomplishments often seem to be overlooked, IMO.

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    • Schmetzter’s record as head coach is unmatched. Period. No qualifiers needed.

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    • Seattle already has used its 3 DP spots on Rusnak, Lodeiro, and Ruidiaz. They’re also paying down players like Morris, Frei, and Roldan so unless MLS rules change no new DP is likely to come. Although I was surprised Rusnak is on a DP so maybe he wouldn’t be too hard to pay down with Gam/tam.

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      • For years I’ve been saying that MLS should simplify the whole set up with just one pot of money, a larger pot, to give teams a chance to build quality depth. I think the crazy quilt of DP’s TAM, GAM etc., is going to limit the league’s development.

      • 100 percent but owners seem to be doing well enough they aren’t going to spend more. I heard I think it was Tenario saying if the new TV deal is good money he actually thinks owners will not add to DP/salary cap because their’s no motivation to put out a better product, rather than invest that increased revenue. Let’s be real though to compete with Chelsea, Real Madrid, or Liverpool, Seattle needs a lot more than one DP. The goal should be can we beat Boca Juniors or Palmieras.

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