Seattle Sounders go to the final! A 1-1 draw on the road against New York City FC at Red Bull Arena booked the trip after a 3-1 victory at home in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League semi-final, giving in Seattle a 4-2 aggregate victory in the playoffs. The Sounders took the lead with another beautifully crafted team goal which included a superb diagonal ball from Jackson Ragen to Nouhou and a superb cross into the box from Nouhou which Raúl Ruidíaz knocked home.
NYCFC tied the game, reducing the overall deficit to two, early in the second half. Seattle had a great opportunity to close the door minutes later when Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan came out on the counter, but when Roldan found Morris with an excellent look inside the box, his shot was just on the sole defender standing on goal. double.
NYCFC kept pushing for more goals to get back in the series, but they just weren’t going to beat Stefan Frei. Frei recorded 7 saves as New York racked up 25 shots, with more than a few of those saves in spectacular fashion. With Frei doing his best brick wall impression and the rest of the team doing their best to limit the danger of the shots New York fired, Seattle held off the Pigeons for the better part of an hour and secured their place in the final. . While there were a few yellows shown, the Sounders also managed to avoid being pushed into yellows that would cause players to miss the opening game of the finals, where they will face the UNAM Pumas on the road before hosting them in the second leg. for a chance to lift another trophy at Lumen Field. The dates of these matches are yet to be determined.
1′ – Things start hot and contentious as Taty Castellanos slams Xavier Arreaga as the Sounder wins a header to draw a yellow.
23′ — Castellanos narrowly misses the best halftime look for NYCFC after João Paulo pulls out a pass from Jackson Ragen to let him pass, but he is picked up.
28′ — Objective of the pollsters! Raúl Ruidíaz opens the scoring with a first arrival on an excellent pass from Nouhou after a superb diagonal from Jackson Ragen. 1-0 (4-1) sounders
44′ — Nico Lodeiro collects the ball just outside the NYCFC box and finds Ruidíaz inside the box. Ruidíaz takes a throw-in to create space, but his shot is saved.
51′ — New York takes one out. After hitting the post twice, Alex Roldan gets beaten as he enters the box allowing a reduction and a finish in traffic. 1-1 (4-2)
60′ — Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan play a fantastic streak down the field, and Roldan finds Morris for a big chance, but the shot hits a body on the goal line.
63′ — Another good chance for NYCFC, but Stefan Frei holds on and blocks the shot before the ball goes out for a goal kick.
68′ — Talles Magno converts Nouhou and gets a shot, but Frei sprawls and passes it over the goal.
73′ — Stephane Frei! Talles Magno with another great look on a New York counter, but Frei lets it go and blocks the shot from close range!
88′ — Another close for NYCFC, but Frei dives through the net and clears the ball away, then Kelyn Rowe fouls to stop the danger.
CCL fever: For any complaints anyone might have about the Sounders’ slow start or poor record to start the MLS season, they are absolutely burning the Champions League. While they went 2-2-1 with a goal differential of 0 in MLS play – although it should be noted that both losses came in the first two games – Seattle is yet to drop a match in the CCL game, outscoring their opponents 13-3 making it 3-0-3. They did this by rotating players in and out of roster for various reasons, and getting great performances from everyone on the roster. This is a team built for great things, to make history, and as they now qualify for the CCL Finals, they have an opportunity to do just that. To make it even sweeter, if the Sounders were to become the first MLS team to win the CCL, they could do it at home in front of their own fans, in front of you and me.
Stefan Frei is still part of the elite: Stefan Frei has been criminally underrated and underrated by just about everyone outside of the Greater Seattle metropolitan area. He’s been, by just about any metric you want to judge goaltenders, one of the best, if not the best, goalkeepers in MLS for years. He also passes the eyesight test, frequently making saves on best moments and frequently ruining the lives of MLS forwards. He’s like that ad with Dikembe Mutombo, popping up out of nowhere to crush the hopes of attackers big and small. He deservedly won MLS Cup Final MVP in 2016 but received little love when it came to Goalkeeper of the Year. After missing injury time in 2021, there were understandably questions about how he would make a comeback, but if tonight’s performance was any indication, worries about Stefan Frei’s decline were greatly exaggerated. This could be the year Frei finally gets the glory he deserves.
Giving and receiving Concacaf-ed: The Sounders weren’t necessarily the best team on the field in this one. It still wasn’t the 80-90% control that Ronny Deila claimed his team achieved in the first leg, but NYCFC definitely seemed to have the better game in this one. It didn’t matter. NYCFC didn’t need to just be better, they needed to overcome a two-goal deficit (and for a little while, a three-goal deficit), and they needed to force the Sounders to make mistakes to get there. They tried to irritate and inflame Seattle into making those mistakes, they tried to “concave” their way to the Finals, but they chose the wrong path. The Sounders were equal in physique, able to contribute a bit of their own, and while they didn’t take whiffs from NYCFC, they also refused to lose their minds. Instead, for every attempt to kick or grab or goad Seattle in general, the Sounders responded by reveling in their throw-ins, scrutinizing options on goal kicks and set pieces, and taking every opportunity to stretch a cramp or wait to be checked. injury in case of serious contact. It was the path of the leaf; theirs was the way to victory.
This goal was good to the last drop.
Brian Schmetzer: “The culture of the club is to win. Every game, every trophy, every competition, we take every game seriously. We don’t buy the excuse that if you’ve committed to a tournament, you don’t can’t continue to do well in the next. We’re not buying that.
—Charles Boehm (@cboehm) April 14, 2022
57 – The Sounders have won 57 games to NYCFC’s 46.