MLS Cup Playoffs: Sounders outlast Rapids, advance to MLS Cup 2016

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The game in 100 words (or less): For the first time in their eight-year MLS era, the Seattle Sounders are headed to MLS Cup. Sunday’s second-leg triumph over the Colorado Rapids confirmed what everyone thought they knew at the start of the playoffs: the Rave Green were this year’s team of destiny after rising from the dead in late-July (9th place on the day they fired Sigi Schmid), finishing fourth in the West, surviving a close encounter with Sporting Kansas City in the knockout round, and thrashing the Supporters’ Shield winners, FC Dallas, in the conference semifinals. Jordan Morris bagged the only goal of the second leg (3-1 final score on aggregate), his second of the postseason, as the Sounders survived a first-half onslaught that saw the Rapids stifle their every effort to attack, and out-shoot the Sounders 11-1 in the opening 45 minutes. The Sounders will host the Montreal Impact in MLS Cup 2016 if they are to advance past Toronto FC on Wednesday, and would play away to TFC if the Reds emerge from the second leg at BMO Field.

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The moment that mattered

56′ — Morris slots past MacMath for the clincher — Jared Watts made the initial clearance, but the ball only made it as far as Nelson Valdez about 30 yards from goal. With Watts briefly out of position defensively, Valdez seized upon the chance to play Morris behind the Rapids defense, and the rookie took his chance like a playoff-hardened veteran.

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Man of the match: Osvaldo Alonso

Goalscorers: Morris (56′)