Seattle Sounders make history with first MLS win in Concacaf Champions League

Seattle Sounders SCCL Win
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The Seattle Sounders have made history. After years and decades of torment from Liga MX teams and other clubs in Concacaf, the Seattle Sounders are the first Major League Soccer team to win the Concacaf Champions League.

Seattle pulled off the victory in front of a crowd of 68,741 fans, a record-breaking Concacaf Champions League crowd at Lumen Field.

Raúl Ruidíaz scored two goals to lift the Sounders over Pumas at home on Wednesday night, with Nicolás Lodeiro adding the exclamation point in the 88th minute. In the first leg, the Sounders came from behind to score two goals in Mexico, tying Pumas 2-2. Away goals don’t factor in the SCCL Final. However, Seattle didn’t need that help — they lifted the Concacaf Champions League trophy on their own.

Ruidíaz’ first goal came just moments before the halftime whistle blew, as Albert Rusnák raced down the left side of the pitch, sending the ball into the box. The ball eventually fell to Ruidíaz, who hit his rocket shot past Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera. Ruidíaz’ second goal came in the 80th minute, with Lodeiro scoring just eight minutes later off a rebound.

There’s no other words to describe it: history and pure joy.

Seattle has won everything you could win in Major League Soccer. They have two MLS Cup titles and a handful (4) of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles. They have one MLS Supporters Shield. This is a team that is gilded with accolades and is only looking to add more to their shelf.

Now, they have the Concacaf Champions League trophy, and have put themselves in the history books as the first MLS team to claim the coveted trophy.

Many have tried before, but it’s the Seattle Sounders who reign supreme.

Schmetzer: Proud of “all of the guys”

Opening up his post-game press conference, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer was asked how he felt about the monumental moment of winning the Concacaf Champions League.

“I said in some press thing, give me six months. I’m going to stick to that,” Schmetzer said. “Right now, I’m living in the moment and I’m so proud of that group of players, all of them. It’s not just the guys who scored the goals. It’s not just Yeimar and Stefan, but the young kids, the Academy guys that are coming and getting a taste of what this club is about. I’m super proud of the way the team performed throughout this tournament, under some adversity. It’s not an easy tournament to win.”

Schmetzer said that there were rumblings about pressure, due to Seattle having to play the final, second leg, match at home.

“I think they passed the test. I think they passed it with flying colors,” he said.

Of course, Schmetzer got down to business as well, giving updates on injuries to Joao Paulo — who was taken out after a no-contact injury to his knee — and Nouhou Tolo, who was replaced after a collision. Paulo was seen on crutches with his knee covered in athletic tape during the trophy presentation, with teammates helping him get on stage.

“Nouhou just had a thigh contusion, a charley-horse, a dead leg. Those are painful and sometimes you can’t play,” Schmetzer said. “We’re looking at JP for a possible ACL tear.”

Stefan Frei — who was named the best goalkeeper of the Concacaf Champions League, as well as the MVP for the entire tournament — said in an interview with Fox Soccer post-game that being the first is a huge accomplishment for the Sounders.

“It feels amazing. I said to the guys before, ‘The first thing only happens once,’ making history,” Frei said. “There will be many more Concacaf Champions League winners, but there’s only one that does it for the first time for MLS. We wrote ourselves in the history books today and I’m so proud of my team.”

Frei made one save on paper for the Sounders, but pushed out a handful of attempts from Pumas over the bar.

 

Photo: Jane Gershovich/Seattle Sounders FC.