Seattle Sounders top NYCFC for spot in SCCL Final against Pumas

Seattle Sounders Pumas SCCL Frei
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The Seattle Sounders have a chance to make history in Concacaf Champions League. For Brian Schmetzer and the team, it’s a “big f–king deal.” Those are Schmetzer’s words, not ours at Last Word on Soccer.

Seattle cruised to the SCCL final with a 3-1 victory at home in Leg 1 and then a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena. Seattle got the coveted away goal last night off a Raúl Ruidíaz strike inside the box. Ruidíaz recently returned to training for the Sounders in late March, making his MLS debut on April 2 against Minnesota United.

In both matches against New York City FC, Ruidíaz made his first two starts of the season. His first goal of 2022 came in the second leg, in a crucial match. After the match, Schmetzer said that the Sounders won in a quality fashion.

“It’s positive that we were able to endure the second half,” Schmetzer said. “New York City is a very good team. They’re well coached… it’s why they are defending champions. We had to survive. [Stefan Frei] had a monster game. You saw quality with the one chance Raul had, and he buried that. I told the team they have to enjoy the moment, live in the moment, and then we’ll watch the tape and see what we can take out of the two games and apply it to the rest of the year.”

As Schmetzer alluded to, Frei had a monster game, making seven saves — including one with his thigh. After the match, Frei said he was proud of his teammate’s defensive effort.

“We were able to withstand them and not break. There was a lot of effort put out there today,” Frei said. “They had us under good pressure, so we had to put in a lot of effort today. I’m proud of the guys. It’s not pretty sometimes, but it’s a two-legged series. We have good position at home and then the first half was good. The second half, we have some things to improve on. We know that. We’re hungry and we’re happy to have a chance for a trophy.”

What’s Next for the Sounders?

Before Concacaf Champions League commences again, the Sounders have a couple MLS matches.

On Saturday, Seattle will host Inter Miami — which will include the reunion between Miami defender DeAndre Yedlin and his former club. The match will kick off at 10 p.m. ET. Then, Seattle will go down the coast to the San Jose Earthquakes on April 23.

SCCL will resume with Seattle going on the road to Pumas on Wednesday, April 27, with a 10:30 p.m. ET kick off. Then, the finale will be on Wednesday, May 4, at 10 p.m. ET, at Lumen Field.

“We’ll start thinking of things after Miami,” Schmetzer said.



Photo: Mike Fiechtner/Seattle Sounders FC.