This year’s MLS has thrown up some seriously crazy results, but do they come any more shocking than this?
LAFC came into this game with all the momentum in the world. Not only had they romped to record after record in both Western Conference and MLS history as they claimed this year’s Supporter’s Shield, as well as dispatching crosstown rivals Galaxy in the MLS Cup semis, but they had been unbeaten in all competitions against their opponents for this match, winning at home and drawing away in Seattle during the regular season.
Bob Bradley’s side were not only favourites going into this match, but were nailed on favourites in most soccer markets for the whole tournament following the conclusion of their record-setting regular season. Originally priced at +150 for the title before the first round of fixtures, their victory over Galaxy saw their odds slashed down to -175.
Our MLS predictions for the game had odds on an LAFC win at -217, miles ahead of the +420 for the tie and even further ahead of an outside Sounders win on +590, which surely just goes to show how impressive this win was for Seattle.
Though underdogs going into this game, Seattle Sounders still remain one of MLS’ most experienced sides in the Play Offs. This is a side after all that is now heading to an MLS Cup Final for the third time in four years, having never failed to make the top four of their Conference since their introduction in 2009.
There was no hint of an upset when Eduard Atuesta gave LAFC the perfect start to the game on minute 17, curling in a delicious free-kick from about thirty yards out. The Black and Gold’s dream start would evaporate just five minutes later however, with Raul Ruidiaz scoring his first of the night on minute 22. 1-1 then became 1-2 as Nicolas Lodeiro latched onto Ruidiaz’s sublime through ball, slotting home a sublime finish past Tyler Miller from about twenty yards out.
Lodeiro and Ruidiaz combined once again in the second half, with Lodeiro supplying Ruidiaz this time in the 64th minute. 1-3 down, and the LA faithful were beginning to realise their record-breaking season was on the verge of collapsing.
Credit has to go to Seattle for this win; defying odds and predictions from virtually everyone, their tactics and gameplan was well thought out and executed perfectly by the players on the pitch. The Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi threat was kept quiet throughout the game, whilst the high line employed by the Sounders ran the Black and Gold defence ragged.
It’ll be interesting to see how LA do next season, but for the moment we have to look forward to Sounders reaching yet another MLS Cup final. Beginning the Play Offs as outsiders at +1200, they rose to +350 before this match and now find themselves at +100.
The MLS Cup Final is on November 10th, with Seattle Sounders facing either Atlanta United or Toronto FC.