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Sounders, Schmetzer Advance to First MLS Cup

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 11/27/16, 9:24PM EST


Win against Rapids earns Seattle first chance at championship since 2007

On three occasions, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer led the Seattle Sounders to the USL First Division Championship Game.

On Sunday, he added an MLS Cup Final appearance to his coaching resume.

Seattle Sounders FC took a 1-0 victory in the second leg of the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs to earn a 3-1 aggregate victory against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to earn the club’s first trip to the MLS Cup Final. Former Sounders FC U23 forward Jordan Morris scored a second-half goal, his second of the series, to lift the side to victory and a date with either Toronto FC or the Montreal Impact on December 10.

The Sounders last claimed a league championship under Schmetzer’s guidance when they won the 2007 USL First Division Championship with a 4-0 victory against the Atlanta Silverbacks. Zack Scott was on the field that night, and came on late on Sunday as the Sounders looked to solidify their advantage against the Rapids.

Another member of that 2007 Sounders side was on the field as well on Sunday, but current Rapids forward Sebastian Le Toux will have to wait for his first MLS Cup as Colorado was held without a shot on goal despite having much of the play in the first half, outshooting the Sounders 11-1.

One reason for that was Osvaldo Alonso, who recorded one of the Sounders’ four blocked shots in the first half. The defensive midfielder, the 2008 USL Rookie of the Year with the Charleston Battery, put in another stalwart effort in midfield as he notched nine possession recoveries before being substituted through injury with 16 minutes to go. The club’s captain, Alonso raised the Sounders’ first Western Conference Championship trophy following the contest.

The Sounders, who went 8-2-4 under Schmetzer to close the MLS regular season to earn a place in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs after his midseason appointment as interim Head Coach, could host MLS Cup should the Impact hold off Toronto in the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday night. The Impact hold a 3-2 advantage entering the second leg at Toronto’s BMO Field, and should they advance would set up a rematch of the 2004 USL First Division Championship Game. 

With a change to claim the club’s first league championship since 2007, though, Schmetzer is ready to claim the crown.

"We're not finished yet. And I'm very proud of this franchise. The fans deserve this," he said. "We have to make sure that all of this culminates with something big, something that will be really special."

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