The Seattle Sounders are going to Las Vegas with a chance at lifting the club's first-ever international trophy.
By besting Santos Laguna with some stoppage-time magic from Raul Ruidiaz, the Sounders advanced to the 2021 Leagues Cup Final, where they'll face Club Leon in the second installment of the joint MLS and Liga MX tournament. While Seattle are setting their sights on the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, Wednesday (September 22) represents a chance to hoist a 22-pound trophy – and head coach Brian Schmetzer has given every indication this one's hugely important to the club.
While the final will undoubtedly be seen as yet another marker in the ongoing rivalry between MLS and Liga MX, Schmetzer is focusing on what it would mean for his own club, which has won every domestic honor available but is yet to taste continental success.
"This is our moment, it's not Liga MX against MLS. You guys can write that story. What I'm writing is we are in another final, this organization, this club's in another final," Schmetzer said after the late win over Santos Laguna.
Here's what you need to know heading into the all-decisive final.
- Wednesday, September 22 | 10 pm ET
- Allegiant Stadium | Las Vegas, Nevada
How to watch and stream
- ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN
Seattle Sounders FC
This tournament is putting some additional mileage on the Sounders – particularly the Roldan brothers, who have been involved in Gold Cup and World Cup qualifier matches over the last few months. But a win would be another talking point in the MLS vs. Liga MX debate that's seen a tally for the American and Canadian league, via its All-Star Game win. Though Liga MX can point to Concacaf Champions League superiority after MLS' final entrant in the 2021 edition, the Philadelphia Union, bowed out to Club America at the semifinal stage.
The Sounders came to play in Leagues Cup, smashing Tigres UANL 3-0 in their opener with close to a fully first-choice squad. The ensuing win over Santos, though a little less emphatic, showed the kind of big-moment mettle that they're known for. And with newcomer Leo Chu making the key pass to Ruidiaz on the dramatic winner, the Sounders have shown a hydra-like ability to regenerate and replenish with their transfer window activity.
The Liga MX side announced their Leagues Cup presence boldly in the quarterfinals, pummeling Sporting Kansas City 6-1 with five different players getting on Leon's side of the scoresheet. During the semifinals, they bested fellow Liga MXers Pumas UNAM 2-0, helped by former Real Salt Lake forward Sebastian Saucedo getting a red card in the fifth minute.
Santiago Colombatto has scored the opener in both Leagues Cup matches – strangely, the goals came in the 16th minute of each contest – and he'll certainly be a player to watch. Leon sent two players to Los Angeles for the All-Star Game presented by Target, including veteran winger Angel Mena, who was part of the goal-fest at Children's Mercy Park. Chilean striker Victor Davila and Colombian midfielder Omar Fernandez are also capable of finding the back of the net.