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Sounders will face LAFC in conference finals, qualify for 2020 CCL

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LAFC dispatches LA Galaxy 5-3

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders will visit Los Angeles FC in the Western Conference finals next Tuesday at 7 p.m.. LAFC, which set a MLS record with 72 points this season, beat the LA Galaxy 5-3 to qualify.

While LAFC probably wasn’t the preferred opponent, their win does mean the Sounders have qualified for the 2020 edition of the Concacaf Champions League. LAFC and Atlanta United have already qualified for CCL and Toronto FC can only qualify through the Canadian Championship. The only remaining question as far as that goes is which spot they’d receive. If the Sounders win MLS Cup, they’d obviously get that spot. If anyone else wins MLS Cup, the Sounders would go into the spot normally reserved for the U.S. Open Cup champion.

This will be the sixth time the Sounders have competed in CCL.

More immediately, the Sounders will be focused on LAFC, a team they’ve never beaten in four previous meetings. LAFC beat the Sounders 4-1 at Banc of California Stadium on April 21. The Sounders salvaged a 1-1 tie a week later, despite playing 72 minutes of that match down a man after Cristian Roldan was shown a red card that was ultimately rescinded. LAFC won both meetings in 2017.

Against the Galaxy, LAFC looked downright unstoppable going forward and jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of Carlos Vela goals. But just one minute after the second goal, the LA Galaxy pulled one back through Cristian Pavon and then equalized in the 55th minute on a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal that went right through Tyler Miller’s arms. LAFC seemingly put the game away with two goals two minutes apart, but the Galaxy pulled back to 4-3 in the 77th minute. Adama Diomande then put the game away for real with an 80th minute strike.