Defending MLS champion Seattle shuts out Houston 3-0 to win on aggregate 5-0. The Sounders travel to Toronto on Dec. 9 in a rematch of last year’s title match.
In a champagne-soaked locker room, Sounders forward Will Bruin described the mindset behind some of the on-field creativity just flashed by his squad.
His Sounders had dismantled the Houston Dynamo, 3-0, to clinch the Western Conference championship with a dazzling display of passing and finishing Thursday night. Led by a pair of goals and an assist from Bruin these past two games, they’d turned this into one of the most lopsided conference finals in recent memory.
The dagger to Houston’s hopes had come in just the 23rd minute, when a terrific Bruin flick to send Victor Rodriguez in alone for the game’s first goal had put the Dynamo too far behind on aggregate to have any realistic shot. Now, heading to Toronto for a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup final, having dispatched the Dynamo by a combined 5-0 two-leg tally, Bruin and company sure look and sound like a squad peaking at the right time.
Sounders FC @ Toronto
Dec. 9, 1 p.m., ESPN
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“If you would have asked me to do stuff like that all year, I would have said ‘No way, I’m still trying to incorporate myself into the team and into the locker room,’ ’’ onetime Dynamo striker Bruin said of his set-up of Rodriguez, which lifted the CenturyLink Field crowd of 45,298 from their seats. “But now, everybody’s been good and you know you can try things in the final third and nobody’s going to get mad.’’
And everybody knows where the guy taking their passes is going to be.
It’s no secret this defending champion took an awfully long time this season to allow its multi-talented offensive pieces to mesh. But lost amid all the talk of the Sounders now having registered six consecutive shutouts and an MLS record streak for playoff minutes without allowing a goal is the fact this attack looks pretty darned good.
Whether it was Clint Dempsey adding some 57th-minute insurance on a perfect goal-mouth feed from Joevin Jones, or Bruin racing for a Harry Shipp ball, going in alone and beating goalkeeper Joe Willis in the 72nd minute, this was pretty to watch. It mirrored the pinpoint passing and execution on goals by Bruin and Gustav Svensson in the opener,…