Coming into the contest protecting a 3-1 aggregate lead after Leg 1 at Lumen Field last week, Seattle got the result they needed thanks to a road goal in the first half from Raul Ruidiaz. Santiago Rodriguez netted for NYCFC in the 51st minute as the hosts chased a comeback result, but the Sounders managed to close out the 1-1 draw, aided in part by some fantastic goalkeeping from Stefan Frei.
The Rave Green will now attempt to become the first MLS club to ever win the modern incarnation of the continental tournament, with a two-legged meeting against Liga MX side Pumas UNAM on deck in late April and early May.
NYCFC unleashed a wave of pressure from the opening kickoff, but the Sounders got their back-breaking road goal just shy of the half-hour mark. Ruidiaz provided the finishing touch off a well-worked sequence, first-timing home his shot past NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson off a cross from Nouhou that was set up by a long ball from Jackson Ragen.
The Cityzens made it interesting after Rodriguez cashed in a second-half finish off a slick dummy from Taty Castellanos, but Frei made multiple spectacular saves to keep NYCFC from getting a third aggregate goal, most notably with a highlight-reel denial of Talles Magno right on the doorstep in the 73rd minute.
- THE BIG PICTURE: They had to absorb plenty of pressure in Leg 2 to get it done, but with the dust settled, it's a historic result for Seattle, who have long expressed the significance they place organizationally on competing for CCL. Now, they'll get a chance to put that ambition to the test in a CCL Final for the first time, and they've certainly had the feel of a team with the talent and depth to pull it off throughout this year's run. It's now a matter of finishing the job, with two games separating Seattle from MLS immortality.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: If this 73rd-minute strike from Magno had found the net, it would have made for an incredibly nervy end for Seattle. Instead, Frei did what he's done so many times before.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: There's no question that it's Frei for his seven-save effort, which thwarted an energetic comeback bid from the defending MLS Cup champions.