SEATTLE, WA – The Seattle Sounders complete a historic comeback as they knockoff Minnesota United 3-2 to advance to the 2020 MLS CUP.
“Play till the whistle blows” is a phrase said by every coach from little league to the pros. The coach wants to make sure that their team never gives up and fights until the game ends. This phrase had to be uttered to the Sounders players by Brian Schmetzer Monday night. A team down 2-0 with only 20 minutes left to go, everything pointed to Seattle being out of this match, but they did not quit. They mad a ferocious push with the little time they had, and they pulled out one of the biggest wins in franchise history.
The fact that Seattle was down 2-0 in the first place would be a head scratcher if you did not watch the game in real time. Just looking at stats, the Rave Green outplayed the Loons in almost every facet of the match. Sounders had more shots, won more duals and dominated time of possession in the opening 45 but a foul outside of the box lead to a MNUFC free kick goal at the ’29 mark.
Heading into the break down 0-1 was not ideal, but it also did not seem like the end of the world. The Sounders did seem to be the better team, but the Loons just happened to capitalize on their best chance. The match did not seem decided as everyone trotted into the locker room. A goal by Dibassy in the 78th however, did seem like the end of the world.
The reigning MLS champions were down 2-0 at home with under 30 minutes to go. It was a done deal by many, but not by coach Schmetzer and this Sounder roster.
In the ’73, Seattle sent on super sub Will Bruin. The man they call the bear is known for subbing on in matches and giving a team an instant spark and this night was no different. Just 2 minutes on the pitch was all Bruin needed to give his squad a lift when he put home a rebound in the 75th and cut Minnesota’s lead in half.
To add a little more energy, Schmetzer subbed on Gustav Svensson for Joevin Jones a few moments after the Bruin goal. The Swedish international had been absent from the team after testing positive for COVID a couple weeks ago but was healthy and ready to contribute. His impact was not as immediately felt like the Bear but in due time his mark on the game would be the biggest of all.
If you aren’t new to these post game recaps, then you will notice the absence of 3 big names for the Rave Green. Lodeiro, Morris and Ruidíaz have been the main fire power and the driving force for the Sounders in their push towards another cup birth. They had their chances throughout this match but none of them were able to get the ball in the net. That was until the last minute of play because who doesn’t love dramatics?
A corner was given to Seattle in the ‘90 and Nico stepped up left of goal. He sent a ball in that got over everyone’s head in the box and perfectly fell to Ruidíaz at the far post. A low strike was rocketed in and past Dayne St. Clair as the game became leveled.
The momentum was completely on the side of the home team and they pinned their ears back. MNUFC, who at one point seemed to have this game in the bag now looked like a team who was down by 2 goals and Seattle knew this. The Sounders kept attacking as they did not want this match to go to extra time and were rewarded with yet another corner. Once again Nico stepped up to the spot and lofted a ball into play, and Svensson got on the end of it to seal the comeback win.
The Sounders finished one of the best comebacks in not only franchise history, but quite possibly league history. For the 4th time in 5 years, Rave Green earned their spot in MLS Cup.
- 29’ MNUFC – Emanuel Reynoso
- 67’ MNUFC – Bakaye Dibassy (Assisted by Emanuel Reynoso)
- 75’ SEA – Will Bruin
- 89’ SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz
- 90’+3 SEA – Gustav Svensson (Assisted by Nicolás Lodeiro)
The Sounders will be appearing in back-to-back MLS Cups but will not be hosting this time around. Instead, a trip to Columbus, Ohio awaits the defending champs as they have a date with the Crew. This will be the second meeting of the season between the two sides with the previous matchup coming back in March. That was the last match played for the Sounders before the season was put on hold due to the pandemic and ended with a 1-1 draw.
MLS Cup 2020 is scheduled for a 5:30 kickoff on December 12. The match will be broadcasted nationally on FOX and will be the first time Seattle will play an opponent other than Toronto in the final.
Russell is the Content Director for the Eli Network. He studied broadcast journalism at Eastern Oregon and North Dakota State University. Mostly covers soccer and basketball in the Seattle area and is the current play-by-play voice for Seattle Redhawks basketball. You can follow him @brussbrwn.