Seattle Sounders: 3 reasons why they won MLS Cup

“This. Is. It.” And it was something

“This. Is. It.” And it was something

The goal was given to Leerdam, though it appeared to be a textbook own goal, and became Seattle's first MLS Cup goal in open play in 267 minutes.

The final marked the third time in the last four years the two sides met for the MLS Cup, Seattle winning in 2016 and TFC in 2017. Striker Raul Ruidiaz played a ball from the top of the box into defender Kevin Leerdam on his right.

The 69,274 fans made up the largest crowd for a sporting event in CenturyLink Field history and the largest ever gathered for a soccer game in the state of Washington.

Toronto still had a chance to get back in the game after Morrow's error, an excellent Westberg save with about 20 minutes remaining keeping them in the contest.

"The first goal kind of started us going", Schmetzer said. It was his fourth goal of the playoffs.

With Seattle's 3-1 win over Toronto FC at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, the Sounders have won MLS Cup for the second time in club history.

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The system has served Gregg Vanney's side well throughout the playoffs, but when Jozy Altidore was introduce shortly after the hour-mark and scored a meaningless consolation goal in the final minutes, the shortcomings of Toronto's approach were laid bare. The win also gave them a 2-1 advantage over Toronto in their championship series, and perhaps solidified Seattle's place as the dynasty of the decade. They cheered as blue and green smoke flooded the roadways, sang and twirled their scarves in pageantry. The total shots were 14 apiece, while the Sounders had six on goal to five by TFC. This was not a victory that owed everything to his undoubted tactical acumen, but to a fluke that shifted the momentum of the tie and gave the Sounders a sorely-needed injection of confidence.

Toronto's best chance of the period fell to the Frenchman, Nicolas Benezet, whose low shot was saved at full stretch by Stefan Frei against his former club.

Seattle was mostly reactive through the first 45 minutes, struggling to hold onto the ball for more than fleeting moments.

To the delight of the record crowd at "The Clink", the Sounders added a second goal in the 76th minute when substitute Victor Rodriguez right-footed into the bottom right-corner past a sprawling Westberg. Six separate players took aim, but often misfired. And for the second time, it came against Toronto FC. Leerdam escaped a toe-poke challenge from Toronto's Nicolas Benezet before he put a ball across the box, which deflected off Reds defender Justin Morrow and past goalkeeper Quentin Westberg to break the deadlock.

Lauren Smith covers the Seattle Mariners for The News Tribune.

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