Sounders hold off NYCFC charge to reach first SCCL Final
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Sounders hold off NYCFC charge to reach first SCCL Final

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HARRISON, New Jersey The Seattle Sounders are through to the Final of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League for the first time in history after playing to a 1-1 draw with New York City FC in their 2022 semifinal second leg on Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

By virtue of their 3-1 win in the first leg, combined with Wednesday’s result, the Sounders emerged as 4-2 aggregate winners to become just the fifth MLS team to reach an SCCL Final, where they will face Liga MX side Pumas.

NYCFC came out hunting for an early goal and almost got it from a Thiago Andrade header in the 12’, followed by Valentin Castellanos stroking a shot wide in the 23’.

But it was Seattle who would break the deadlock, as Raul Ruidiaz connected on a Nouhou cross from the left and one-touched with his right foot into net for a 1-0 lead in the 28’.

NYCFC enjoyed an energetic start to the second stanza and had back-to-back shots off the post shortly through Santiago Rodriguez and Talles Magno. A minute later, though, in the 51’ Rodriguez would take advantage of a Castellanos dummy and fire into goal to even the score at 1-1 and make it a 4-2 deficit on aggregate.

The Sounders looked to wrestle back control and Jordan Morris looked set to land a crucial second goal in the 59’, but sawn his shot cleared off the goal-line by Thiago Martins.

Back came NYCFC and Seattle GK Stefan Frei had to be alert to prevent a header from tricking in off a corner kick and then made a last-gasp kick-save to deny Magno from point-blank range in the 72’.

There was another ball off the post for NYCFC in the 80’, as the home side continued to mount the pressure, but thanks to Frei’s timely saves and interventions, the Sounders saw things out until the final whistle to book their spot in the Final.