The Sounders are for the second time in the history of the franchise MLS Cup winner, defeating FC Toronto 3-1 in front of 69,274 enthusiastic fans at CenturyLink Field. Here's how it happened.
The Sounders said a MLS Cup victory at home could make the team one of the biggest in the league. Seattle made his mark and started his first goal in the history of the championship game when defender Kelvin Leerdam scored a goal from Raul Ruidiaz in the 57th minute with a goal in the 90th minute. It was Ruidiaz's first title game.
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer restored veteran center-back Roman Torres to MLA freshman Xavier Arreaga. Torres injured Real Salt Lake in the semifinals in Seattle on the thigh and played as a substitute in winning the Western Conference against Los Angeles FC.
Torres played a key role for the Sounders as Toronto dominated the opening half with 65.1% of possession. The Reds had pinned the Rave Green in the last third of the field and just because of the way Torres had worked around the penalty area to distract the attempts, missed the target.
Sunday was another example of Torres having a rocky season overcame an important role in a championship game. For the Sounders Opening Cup in 2016 Torres had the decisive penalty after nine inserts and eight starts in the regular season.
Torres started on the bench this season. He crashed into the starting grid when Chad Marshall, three-time defensive player of the year, dropped out of a knee injury in May. But Torres missed 10 matches in August over a ban imposed by MLS for violating his drug policy.
"What happened is regrettable," Ruidiaz said in an interview with Pulso Sports Network recently and translated it from Spanish. Ruidiaz and Torres have become close friends since Ruidiaz signed in Seattle in June 2018.
"The novel came from a very good game," Ruidiaz continued. "He never let go of his guard, always pushing forward and working the way he did. He started playing sequential games as a starter, started securing the defense, and then something like that happened to him. The truth is that Roman has all our support and we are with him. That was just a rock on his way and (he) came back even stronger.
The bars around Pioneer Square were full 30 minutes after opening, as MLS Cup fans began to fill the area at 8am – four hours before kick-off.
MLS opened only standing-room tickets on Sunday morning, filling a record 69,274 in CenturyLink. It was the biggest crowd watching a football game in Washington State, but not the biggest for a MLS Cup final.
With a record of 73,019 spectators, Atlanta United defeated the Portland Timbers at the MLS Cup 2018 United's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Adding the sum for Sunday at CenturyLink Field, the 142,293 fans are more than those who participated in the previous five championship games together (137,026).
The Emerald City supporters launched a stadium-wide Tifo (organized banner) that depicted players on a graphic and chess-boarded the rest of the seating areas. In Green and blue labeled "Seattle Sounders" in the lower shell.
The Sounders took second place in the regular MLS season with 37,722, which is considered a clearance sale for the club's football configuration in the NFL stadium