The Seattle Sounders took a commanding 2-0 lead into the second leg of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Championship against the Houston Dynamo and they did little to make proceedings tense at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night, beating the Dynamo 3-0 and advancing to MLS Cup for the second straight season; they'll again face Toronto FC.
After scoring two goals at BBVA Compass Stadium in the first leg, Seattle were able to add to their lead in the first half thanks to a beautiful throughball from Will Bruin that put Victor Rodriguez on goal. The Spaniard finished past Dynamo 'keeper Joe Willis to give Seattle a commanding 3-0 aggregate lead. Clint Dempsey added a goal of his own in the second half, finishing in an open net after a Joevin Jones cross and Bruin tallied another goal against his former team, finishing off a beautiful pass from Harry Shipp to put the Sounders up five in the series.
The Dynamo, without Romell Quioto due to sickness, were unable to create quality chances against a stout Seattle defense. Houston's chances of making a four-goal comeback took a hit in the 66th minute when Tomas Martinez was shown a red card after Video Review. The midfielder had pushed Jordy Delem's head into the turf after an aerial challenge.
Seattle will travel to Toronto (again) for MLS Cup, hoping to replicate 2016's winning result.
- STROLL TO CUP: Gustav Svensson opened the Western Conference Championship by scoring in the 11th minute and the Sounders did not look under pressure for the rest of the series. Aided by a Jalil Anibaba red card in the first leg, Seattle cruised past a Dynamo team that failed to trouble the defending champions. Bruin was a menace against his former team, providing two goals and an assist over the two legs. They were even able to get Jordan Morris back on the field for the final 15 minutes, in his first appearance since September 10.
- IMPENETRABLE SEATTLE: The Sounders defense has been incredible over their last two playoff runs, having already set the record for the longest shutout streak in MLS postseason history before the match. They extended that run to 647 minutes after keeping a clean sheet on Thursday night. Their current shutout streak stands at 542 minutes, after not allowing a goal in the 2017 playoffs and the last two regular season matches.
- SHORTHANDED DYNAMO: The Dynamo not only needed to overcome a two-goal deficit on the road, but they had to do so without two of their top attacking pieces: Alberth Elis was suspended due to yellow card accumulation, while Quioto was not able to play after falling ill. Leading goalscorer Erick "Cubo" Torres did not start, coming on in the 62nd minute, after Wilmer Cabrera decided to go with Mauro Manotas up top.
- SEA: MLS Cup; Sun. December 9 at Toronto FC (4 pm ET; ESPN, UniMás; TSN, TVAS)
- HOU: End of season.