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MLS Cup: Highlights, stats and quotes

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Sounders fall to Columbus Crew, fail in bid to win back-to-back titles.

The Seattle Sounders fell flat in their attempt to repeat as MLS Cup champions. Despite the Columbus Crew missing two key starters, they were clearly the better team in a 3-0 win.

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 0 – Columbus Crew SC 3

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium

Referee: Jair Marrufo

Assistants: Corey Parker, Kathryn Nesbitt

Fourth Official: Alex Chilowicz

VAR: Drew Fischer

Attendance: 1,500

Weather: 46 degrees and cloudy

SCORING SUMMARY

CLB – Lucas Zelarayán (Harrison Afful, Aidan Morris) 25’

CLB – Derrick Etienne (Lucas Zelarayán) 31’

CLB – Lucas Zelarayán (Luis Diaz) 82’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

SEA – João Paulo (caution) 28’

SEA – Brad Smith (caution) 49’

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan (Kelvin Leerdam 60’), Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Shane O’Neill (Jimmy Medranda 77’), Nouhou (Brad Smith HT); João Paulo (Will Bruin 60’), Cristian Roldan, Joevin Jones (Gustav Svensson HT), Nicolás Lodeiro, Jordan Morris; Raúl Ruidíaz

Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Román Torres, Miguel Ibarra, Jordy Delem

Total shots: 13 (Ruidíaz, 4)

Shots on goal: 2 (C. Roldan/Ruidíaz, 1)

Fouls: 13 (João Paulo/Lodeiro, 3)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 8 (Lodeiro, 8)

Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)

Columbus Crew SC – Eloy Room; Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams, Milton Valenzuela; Aidan Morris, Artur (Fatai Alashe 88’), Luis Diaz (Waylon Francis 90’), Lucas Zelarayán, Derrick Etienne (Hector Jimenez 83’); Gyasi Zardes

Substitutes not used: Andrew Tarbell, Aboubacar Keita, Youness Mokhtar, Emmanuel Boateng, Krisztian Nemeth, Fanendo Adi

Total shots: 15 (Zelarayan/Zardes, 3)

Shots on goal: 5 (Zelarayan, 2)

Fouls: 15 (Artur, 3)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 7 (Zelarayan, 7)

Saves: 2 (Room, 2)

Quotes

Brian Schmetzer (full comments)

On the emotional toll of the Western Conference Final vs Minnesota: Well, I mean, yeah, maybe the last game was emotional. It was emotional high and you got to get back up again. But it was a Cup final. I mean, I almost felt like in that first half, our soccer wasn’t great, and it was almost like they were too wound up, too tight, just couldn’t seem to find their rhythm early in the game. Then obviously you go one goal down, okay, that’s okay, but going two goals down certainly was a dagger and that was something that you got to give credit to Columbus.

Stefan Frei (full comments)

On what he saw early in the game: Yeah, it’s one of our worst halves of the season at the worst time for us. I think it took us a long time to find a way into the game. We may have some, may have had some spells of possession, but they were meaningless, really. We weren’t really doing much with it. I think our best couple of spells in the first half were actually long balls, a very direct style there. But other than that, definitely a half to forget. Unfortunately, we already found ourselves down 2-0 at that point. So I think we came out a little better in the second half. Weren’t able to find a goal that could have opened up things, but we weren’t the better team today and deservedly they won.

Cristian Roldan (full comments)

On the match: [It was] a difficult game altogether. It felt like, in the first half, we did not do a good enough job at getting the second balls. I would have loved to have been more aggressive in the attack, commit more numbers forward, but obviously, we gave up two goals, and you dig yourself in a hole and make things more difficult to get back into the game.

Shane O’Neill (full comments)

On the match: I feel like they hit us with a sledgehammer in the first half. I felt we matched it in the first few minutes and it was just relentless. They got a stranglehold on us and we couldn’t really get out of our own half. They were outdoing us, winning a lot of second balls. We kind of had to be perfect defensively and obviously we weren’t, and so then we were punished. I think the most frustrating thing about tonight is that they wanted it a little more than us. I don’t know if that’s because they were the home team, or whatnot, but it just felt like they wanted it that extra bit. And so we had to run that perfect race defensively and we didn’t do that and we were severely punished.

Caleb Porter (full comments)

On whether this was the most complete performance of the season: Unbelievable. We were not going to let history and the past, as much as I have the utmost respect for the Seattle Sounders and Brian Schmetzer and Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan [Morris] and Raúl [Ruidiaz] — I mean, are you kidding me, these are unbelievable players, [Cristian] Roldan and Stefan Frei, we were not going to let the past determine today. This was our year. It was going to be our year, it was going to be our day and our trophy and that was the message before the game. I don’t care what they have done in the past. It’s going to be decided on, today. I think we showed that. We came out. We fought. We had intensity in the match, from the opening whistle. We had two corners in I think the first three minutes. Pressed. Countered. You know, we did what we needed to. We fought. And we’re talking guys like Luis Diaz who, when I got him, I don’t even think he knew how to defend at all. And he was tracking back and digging in and grinding and Gyasi [Zardes] is battling for balls in the air and Jona Mensah, what a beast, he is — heading the ball out. I think there was a little bit of extra motivation to do this for Darlington Nagbe and Pedro Santos. Those two guys, they were key to us getting here, and without them, it was a tall order, but I think we used that to galvanize the group even more and give us a little bit more hunger than we had already, which was a lot.