The Sounders celebrate their historic title. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
The Seattle Sounders defeated Pumas UNAM, 3-0, to win the Concacaf Champions League before a record crowd of 68,741 at Lumen Field in Seattle on Wednesday night.
The Sounders became the first MLS team to win the competition.
The victory lifted the Sounders over Pumas, 5-2, on aggregate in the two-leg final series. The teams tied, 2-2, in Mexico City last week.
The Sounders will represent the Concacaf confederation at the FIFA Club World Cup, where the MLS club will take on the top club teams from around the world.
Raul Ruidiaz scored twice and captain Nico Lodeiro added one for the host side.
“Right now I’m living in the moment and I’m just so proud of that group of players – all of them,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Because it’s not just the guys that scored the goals tonight, and it’s not just Yeimar [Gomez] and Stef [Frei] and all of those guys. It’s all the young kids that are coming up, the academy guys … just super, super proud of the way the team performed throughout this tournament. There’s some adversity, it’s not an easy tournament to win.”
Schmezter wasn’t alone.
“These are precious, precious moments. And then when you missed the opportunity a few times, you don’t want to do it too often,” Frei said. “So I’m really happy we’re able to take care of this today and write history.”
Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan called the result “one of the most important wins, I think, of my career.”
“When you get to make history and you’re the first one to do it, you’re in the history books forever,” he added. “No one can take that away from you. So I’m really happy our fans showed up, 68,000 in midweek, again, it’s special – you don’t see that very often. Credit to them. It was just a great experience and I’ll never take anything for granted.”
Ruidíaz helped Seattle draw first blood as he drilled a 16-yard shot that ricocheted off a defender and into the back of the net in the 45th minute.
“Raul is a killer, in a good way, not in a bad way,” Schmetzer said. “And, you know in the NFL, they have the franchise players? Isn’t that what they what they have? You can call Nico the franchise player.”
Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei kept Pumas off the scoresheet with a huge save in the 65th minute.
In the 80th minute, Jordan Morris laid the ball back to Lodeiro, who found an open Ruidíaz for a two-goal advantage.
Eight minutes later, Lodeiro cleaned up a Morris shot after it pinged off the post to seal the game.
The victory added yet another championship to Seattle’s trophy case, which includes the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles, a MLS Supporters’ Shield and two MLS Cup titles.
Among the foes at the Club World Cup will be the winner of the Real Madrid-Liverpool match-up in the UEFA Champions League final. Recent FIFA Club World Cup winners include Chelsea (2021), Bayern Munich (2020), Liverpool (2019), and Real Madrid (2018). Further details about the FIFA Club World Cup will be announced at a later date.