Seattle Sounders beat Pumas UNAM to win CONCACAF Champions League

The Sounders become the first US team to win the region’s top club football tournament in more than 20 years.

The Seattle Sounders have become the first US-based team in more than 20 years, and the first from Major League Soccer (MLS), to win the region’s top club football tournament.

The Sounders defeated Mexico’s Pumas UNAM 3-0 in their home stadium Lumen Field on Wednesday night in front of 68,000 fans, to win 5-2 on aggregate.

The sides had played to a 2-2 draw in the first leg last week in Mexico City.

The victory made the Sounders the first MLS team, which includes teams from the US and Canada, to win the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Champions League.

The MLS teams DC United and Los Angeles Galaxy won the region’s premier club competition in 1998 and 2000, respectively, when it was called the CONCACAF Champions Cup and featured a different format.

The Sounders will now move on to the FIFA Club World Cup, where they will face off against the winners of FIFA’s five other major regional tournaments.

Seattle Sounders
Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan celebrates after his team defeated Mexico’s Pumas [Ted S Warren/AP Photo]

The victory ended a 13-year streak of Champions League title wins by Mexican teams.

Striker Raul Ruidiaz scored the first two goals for the Sounders before Nicolas Lodeiro scored the third goal from a rebound in the 88th minute.

“The MLS deserved the continental title, and this will go down in history,” Lodeiro said after the game.

The Seattle team managed to finish where Real Salt Lake, Montreal, Toronto, and LAFC fell short over the last decade. The MLS teams had all reached the final, only to be defeated by teams from Mexico’s LigaMX.

Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro against Mexico’s Pumas during the CONCACAF Champions League final [Ted S Warren/The Associated Press]

“It’s been a team effort to push us over the line,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said after the game. “Again, I can’t understate it, this is a hard tournament to win.”

Said Pumas coach Andrés Lillini: “I am very frustrated and I am very proud of our team.”

“We left everything on this field.”

In CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers earlier in the year, the national teams from Canada, Mexico and the US all qualified for the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in November.

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