Sounders lucky and good in earning a first-round postseason bye

The combination of being lucky and good earned the Seattle Sounders a first-round bye in the in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.  Major League Soccer’s adopted format of having all of the games start at the same time on the leagues last day of the season delivered on its mission to add drama, suspense, and fun.

For the Sounders ( 18-11-5, 59 points), Sundays 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes (4-20-9,21 points) at CenturyLink Field delivered all three emotions. The Sounders entered the contest against the Earthquakes in fourth place and assured a playoff berth. When and who they would play would depend on the results from other games. The fact the Sounders were in the playoffs was an achievement in its self-given the team won  14 of its last 16 games setting the MLS record for the best second-half finish of any team in league history.

Schmetzer rolled out a strong lineup that was intended to add to the Sounders four-game win streak and give the Rave Green a little swagger into the postseason regardless of who and where they would play.  After a scoreless first half, the drama came in the 64th minute for the 42,617 Rave Green faithful when Earthquakes forward Danny Hoesen’s shot deflected off Seattle defender Chad Marshall and into the back of the Seattle net for a 1-0 Quakes lead.

The suspense arrived in the  79th minute when a perfect pinpoint cross from Cristian Roldan found a wide open Raul Ruidiaz who thighed the ball into the back of the visitors net for the equalizer.

 

The fun and pure bedlam arrived in the 93rd minute when the Purivian strike rifled a right shot into the back of the visitors net for the game-winner and a Rave Green first round bye thanks to the Colorado Rapids improbable  2-1 come back win over FC Dallas. The Rapids who finished 11th place in the 12 team Western Conference ,scored two goals in the last ten minutes of the game against FC Dallas who were atop of the Western Conference late in September.

 

The brace  on Sunday  was Ruidiaz’s 10th goal in 14 appearances  after  signing a Designated Player contract on June 29th. Ruidíaz became  just the eighth player in club history to record 10 goals in a season. Seattle is  12-2-0 when Ruidíaz appears in MLS play.

GAME NOTES

  • Sounders FC finishes the season with 59 points (18-11-5), the third-highest total in club history (64 in 2014, 63 in 2011).
  • The Rave Green now have a bye in the Knockout Round and will await the winners of LAFC-Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas-Portland.
  • Nicolás Lodeiro recorded his 16th assist of the season, finishing the season ranking third in MLS, in addition to leading the league with eight game-winning assists. In addition to establishing a new Seattle single-season high, Lodeiro’s 36 regular-season assists for Seattle hold the all-time club record.

 

MATCH SUMMARY
 
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – San Jose Earthquakes 1
Sunday, October 28, 2018
 
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Chico Grajeda
Assistants: Matthew Nelson, Eduardo Mariscal
Fourth Official: Ramy Touchan
VAR: Kevin Terry, Jr.
Attendance: 42,617
Weather: 56 degrees and partly cloudy
 
SCORING SUMMARY
SJ – Own Goal (Chad Marshall) 64′
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (Cristian Roldan, Víctor Rodríguez) 79′
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (Nicolás Lodeiro, Víctor Rodríguez) 90’+3′
 
MISCONDUCT SUMMARY
 
SJ  Eric Calvillo (caution) 53′
SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (caution) 90’+4′
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam (Handwalla Bwana 75′), Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Nouhou (Handwalla Bwana 84′); Gustav Svensson (Will Bruin 88′), Osvaldo Alonso – captain, Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro, Víctor Rodríguez; Raúl Ruidíaz
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Harry Shipp, Jordy Delem, Román Torres
Total shots: 18 (Rodríguez, 5)
Shots on goal: 7 (Ruidíaz/ Rodríguez, 2)
Fouls: 9 (Alonso, 4)
Offside: 3 (Ruidíaz, 2)
Corner-kicks: 12 (Lodeiro, 12)
Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)
                               
San Jose Earthquakes – JT Marcinkowski; Shea Salinas, Francois Affolter, Harold Cummings, Nick Lima; Jackson Yueill (Luis Felipe 87′), Anibal Godoy, Tommy Thompson (Yeferson Quintana 90’+2′), Eric Calvillo (Magnus Eriksson 73′); Danny Hoesen, Chris Wondolowski
Substitutes not used: Andrew Tarbell, Vako, Florian Jungwirth, Gilbert Fuentes
Total shots: 7 (Hoesen, 3)
Shots on goal: 3 (Hoesen, 2)
Fouls: 15 (Three players, 3)
Offside: 1 (Hoesen, 1)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Calvillo/Yueill, 1)
Saves: 5 (Marcinkowski, 5)

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