On a night of upsets in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC outclassed LAFC, winning the highly anticipated Round One match 3-1 at Lumen Field Tuesday.
The Sounders advance to host FC Dallas Tuesday in the Conference Semifinals, while LAFC’s topsy-turvy season ended with a Round One defeat.
The Sounders raced in front in the 18th minute when Jordan Morris ran onto a cross-field pass from Raul Ruidiaz and laid off for Nico Lodeiro. The Uruguayan Designated Player did the rest, firing a first time shot past a rooted Pablo Sisniega.
The chance for an equalizer came almost immediately when an overcommitted Nouhou tripped Carlos Vela in the box and referee Kevin Stott pointed to the spot.
But Vela put his attempt directly into the arms of Stefan Frei, only the fifth penalty kick the Mexican failed to covert in 30 all-time attempts.
Jordan Morris had a clear chance to double the Sounders lead in the 54th minute with Nouhou laying the ball off. But Morris put his open shot in the box wide of the far post.
Morris and Lodeiro hit the woodwork in quick succession at the hour mark, opportunities, if converted, would have put the game to bed.
Ruidiaz, though, wouldn’t miss in the 66th minute, running onto a deflected ball off a Lodeiro corner kick and firing clinically into the side netting for his eighth goal in seven playoff games.
A sliding effort by Eduard Atuesta after latching onto a Vela service in the 77th minute gave LAFC a brief lifeline, but Morris put the match away three minutes later with Lodeiro and Ruidiaz setting things up on a well-worked goal.
Mark-Anthony Kaye was denied LAFC’s second goal two minutes from full time, when he was ruled offside following Video Review.