The Seattle Sounders clinched the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, exploding for four second-half goals to take a 4-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field on Decision Day presented by AT&T.
The win, combined with other results, locks Seattle into the second spot in the West, setting up a first-round bout with LAFC in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. San Jose remain in the No. 8 seed at 1.30 points per game, meaning they'll draw a first-round matchup with top-seed Sporting Kansas City.
Chances were few and far between in a scoreless first half, with Seattle coming closest to finding a breakthrough just before halftime, when Nicolas Lodeiro sent a dangerous ball into the box that took a deflection off Chris Wondolowski toward the goal, but glanced off the far post.
The action would pick up considerably in the second half, however, as Seattle took a 2-0 lead courtesy of a pair of goals that occurred within two minutes of each other.
Lodeiro got the first one, charging into the box after sending in another free kick and collecting the ball after a frantic scramble and depositing the near-post finish. Raul Ruidiaz then doubled the advantage just two minutes later, teeing up an effort from the top of the area that took a deflection before making it past San Jose goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski and into the net.
But the Quakes would fight back, cutting the deficit to 2-1 just three minutes after Ruidiaz's goal as Marcos Lopez whipped in a free kick from near the touchline that curled over Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei and into the net, setting up a nervy final half-hour for the hosts.
Jordan Morris would ensure there would be no late equalizer, though, after Lodeiro won the ball just outside the San Jose box and set him in on goal in the 74th minute, allowing the US international winger to poke home Seattle's third goal of the match. Seattle would then add another insurance goal in the 80th minute after Morris sent in a cross for Ruidiaz that took a deflection off Lopez and trickled into the net for an own goal.
- 52' - SEA - Nicolas Lodeiro | WATCH
- 54' - SEA - Raul Ruidiaz | WATCH
- 57' - SJ - Marcos Lopez | WATCH
- 74' - SEA - Jordan Morris | WATCH
- 80' - SEA - Marcos Lopez (OG) | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: They haven't been at their top level in recent weeks, so this was an important performance for Seattle to show they're back to their normal selves and ready to do what they do best in the playoffs. That matchup with LAFC is one of the most intriguing first-round matches on the docket, as it pits the Sounders against the same side they knocked out in the Western Conference Championship last season.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Lopez's free kick finish made this anyone's game, but this 74th-minute finish from Jordan Morris gave Seattle some necessary breathing room for the rest of the match.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Nicolas Lodeiro was his usual energetic self in this one, setting Seattle on their way with the first goal and providing his customary pinpoint service and otherworldly work rate.