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2021 Leagues Cup match recap: Seattle Sounders FC 1, Santos Laguna 0

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Santos Laguna’s Leagues Cup run ends on a Raúl Ruidíaz goal in stoppage time.

Seattle Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz (9) in action during an MLS match between the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders on August 29, 2021 at Lumen Field in Seattle, WA.
Seattle Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz (9) in action during an MLS match between the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders on August 29, 2021 at Lumen Field in Seattle, WA.
Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Santos Laguna were the better team for most of the match, but a goal at the death by former Monarcas Morelia striker Raúl Ruidíaz ends their quest for the Leagues Cup in a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders. While Santos has played better, Seattle were poor for large stretches of the match and should feel fortunate to advance.

Both teams started out a bit tentative, trying to get their footing. In the fifth minute Seattle tried to catch Gibran Lajud off of his line, but he read it well and was able to knock the shot down and pick up the rebound. Roni Prieto tried a shot from distance in the ninth minute, but it went well wide of the mark. The match was pretty physical, with Seattle committing several fouls early on. Santos started winning the battle for possession, however neither team threatened much offensively.

Seattle tried to get something going in the 17th minute on a through ball toward Raúl Ruidíaz, but good positioning by Matheus Dória and a good sliding grab for the ball by Lajud snuffed out the chance before Ruidíaz could touch the ball. In the 20th, Cristian Roldan hit a shot that Lajud parried out for a corner. Around the 30th minute, both teams started pressuring hard, turning a once slow affair into something more akin to a basketball game with the teams shifting constantly from offense to defense. Fredy Montero attempted a chileno that went well wide of the mark in the 37th minute. In the 41st it was Juan Ferney Otero hitting a shot from distance that was more hopeful than dangerous, with goalkeeper Stefan Frei stopping it easily. Ruidíaz was played through in the 42nd minute, but he couldn’t connect with the pass and it rolled out well wide for a goal kick. Both sides went into the locker scoreless, the match looking very much like a Tuesday night midweek game.

Alessio Da Cruz got the first good chance of the second half when he was played in in the 48th minute and hit a shot just wide, however even if it had gone in he was ruled to have been played offside. In the 50th minute it looked like Santos were going to be awarded a penalty when Fernando Gorriarán was taken down in the box, but the whistle was for an offensive foul. Santos caught Seattle on a counterattack in the 54th minute, and Juan Ferney Otero ripped a shot that Frei had to push wide. In the 57th Seattle had a good chance when a ball in found a wide open Fredy Montero, but he mis-hit his shot and it went well into the stands.

The chances kept coming but neither side was able to get anything to go. Félix Torres had a header off of a corner that went high in the 60th minute, and then a minute later it was Yeimar at the other end sending a shot over the bar. In the 64th Diego Valdés hit a free kick to the corner that Frei made a diving stop on. In the 77th it was Dória taking one for the team when he got into the way of a Ruidíaz shot off of a corner kick. Gorriarán had a ball fall into place in the 84th minute, but he didn’t strike it cleanly and it went wide of the intended target.

It looked like the match was headed to penalties until Santos gave up a breakaway in the 92nd minute. Gibran Lajud made the initial save on the shot by Ruidíaz, but couldn’t get to the follow-up and Seattle took the late lead.

Seattle will head to Salt Lake City to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday, September 18 while Santos returns home to host Puebla on Sunday, September 19th

Seattle Sounders FC: Stefan Frei; Brad Smith (Jimmy Medranda, 66’), Shane O’Neill, Xavier Arreaga, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Alex Roldan (Will Bruin, 89’); Kelyn Rowe (Leo Chú, 80’), João Paulo; Fredy Montero (Nicolas Benezet, 66’), Cristian Roldan; Raúl Ruidíaz

Santos Laguna: Gibran Lajud; Carlos Orrantia, Félix Torres, Matheus Dória, Omar Campos; Ronaldo Prieto (Jordan Carrillo, 80’), Fernando Gorriarán; Juan Ferney Otero, Diego Valdés, Brian Lozano (Alan Cervantes, 80’); Alessio Da Cruz (Alberto Ocejo, 80’)

Scoring: Seattle Sounders FC - None; Santos Laguna - Raúl Ruidíaz (90+2’)

Disciplinary: Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero (Yellow - 39’) Xavier Arreaga (Yellow, 71’); Santos Laguna - Fernando Gorriarán (Yellow - 74’)