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Leagues Cup

A pleasant evening at Lumen Field greeted Seattle Sounders, Tigres, and fans of both clubs for their Leagues Cup quarterfinal. Both clubs are making their debut in the competition, but are no strangers to international competition, with the Liga MX side even having won the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League on their way to a place in the Club World Cup Final. Seattle, for their part, have played in each of the last two MLS Cup finals, winning in 2019 before falling to Columbus Crew last year.

After winning in Tijuana to open the season, Tigres have stumbled in their last two matches, losing away to Toluca and drawing at home to Santos, having had a man sent off in both games. Seattle, for their part, are just a point off of Sporting Kansas City at the top of MLS’ Western Conference, and manager Brian Schmezter’s side

The match got off to a lively start, with both sides looking to use the pace of their forward lines to play on the counter, and the hosts had the best of the early minutes, with João Paulo’s shot forcing Miguel Ortega into an early save (7’). Tigres would grow in to the match, though, controlling possession in the Sounders’ half as they probed for an opening, but it was Raul Ruidíaz who would end again test Tigres’ ‘keeper, as his bouncing effort flashed wide of the post (15’).

The Sounders’ hard work would play off, as they would win a penalty through the play of Cristian Roldán (21’). Ruidíaz stepped up to the spot, and calmly scored past Ortega with a lovely chipped effort to give his side the lead (24’). Tigres responded with a good spell of pressure as Florian Thauvin’s cutback was nearly turned home by Leonardo Fernández before Luis Quiñones fired just wide moments later (30’). The two teams continued to battle, but the half would end with Seattle still ahead of the visitors, but not without Tigres having a good chance flagged offside.

Tigres made two changes at the interval, hoping to show more going forward, but it was Seattle who came close to building on their lead early doors. On the counter, Cristian Roldán played in Ruidíaz before the striker blazed over from the edge of the area (50’). The visitors continued to press for an equalizer, though, playing the ball wide before Diego Reyes headed over from close range (61’).

Just moments later, though, Seattle were quickly back up the other end, and it was only some clever goalkeeping from Ortega which would keep the ball away from the feet of Cristian Roldán (62’). It was only a momentary respite for the Mexican side, though, as João Paulo’s corner kick found Fredy Montero at the back host, with the Colombian poking the ball home from close range (64’).

It wasn’t long, either, before the hosts would all but seal the result with Nicolas Lodeiro hitting an absolute rocket into the top corner from range (70’). The Uruguayan’s unstoppable shot was quickly followed by a diving header from Ruidíaz, and Ortega had to be sharp to keep out the Peruvian from close range (75’). After Lodeiro’s goal, both managers made changes, but both teams stayed on the front foot to the end.

With their classy victory, Seattle will face the winner of Thursday’s match between Orlando City and Santos Laguna in the Leagues Cup semifinal next month. After a fine display from Ruidíaz, the Sounders striker was awarded the GEICO Man of the Match award, showing the MLS side to be more than up to the challenge presented by the visitors.

*Photo by USA TODAY*

Match details:

Seattle Sounders 3-0 Tigres

Halftime: 1-0

Goals: Ruidíaz (24’ pen), Montero (64’), Lodeiro (70’)

Bookings: Rowe (58’), Lodeiro (67’); Reyes (88’)

Seattle Sounders: Cleveland; Gómez (Cissoko 84’), Arreaga, O’Neill; A. Roldán, Rowe (Atencio 76’), Paulo, Smith (Medranda 65’); C. Roldán, Montero (Lodeiro 65’); Ruidíaz (Bruin 84’)

Substitutes: Lodeiro, Cissoko, Bruin, Medranda, Richey, Atencio, Leyva, Dobbelaere, Baker-Whiting

Manager: Brian Schmetzer

Tigres: Ortega; Ávalos (Aquino 45’), H. Ayala, Reyes, Venegas; Dueñas (Vigón 72’), D. Ayala (Carioca 72’); Thauvin (López 45’), Fernández (Fulgencio 59’), Quiñones; González

Substitutes: López, Aquino, Carioca, Vigón, Ramos, Cruz, Sánchez, J. Garza, A. Garza, Fulgencio, Delgado, Nájera

Manager: Miguel Herrera