Seattle Sounders break Mexican grip on Champions League with history making win over Pumas

May 5 – MLS club Seattle Sounders broke the vice-like grip LigaMX clubs have held on the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League with a 3-0 win over Pumas UNAM in the second leg of the final at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington.

Two goals from from Peruvian Raul Ruidiaz and a goal from Uruguay’s Nicolas Lodeiro saw the Sounders win 5-2 on aggregate – the first leg in Mexico City was drawn 2-2.

Sounders are the first winner from the MLS in the SCCL era – every winner has come from LigaMX since 2009 – and the first Concacaf club champion from the US since the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2000.

It is a significant win for the MLS whose clubs have struggled in the Concacaf Champions League but who are committed to increased competition with their Mexican counterparts. Starting in 2023, the two leagues will take part in a revamped Leagues Cup that will see every team from each league take part.

In total, 47 teams – 29 from MLS and 18 from Liga MX – will pause their seasons for one month in order to compete in the tournament, with the format consisting of a group phase followed by a knockout stage.

The Sounders have put down a marker for the MLS ahead of this competition and a challenge to the LigaMX and its big clubs.

It was a tight start to the second leg of the final that was played in front of the largest crowd in Concacaf Champions League history, with 68,741 fans present at Lumen Field.

With the teams looking as though they would go into the break scoreless, Seattle found the back of the net in the 45thminute when Xavier Arreaga laid a pass back and the shot from Ruidiaz deflected in off a Pumas defender.

A tense second half was settled in the 80th minute when Seattle scored their second. A counterattack saw Jordan Morris cut the ball back to Lodeiro, who then played to Ruidiaz to finish.

Lodeiro, who scored twice in the first leg, put the finishing touch to the final, pouncing on a shot off the post and firing into net in the 88th minute.

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