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Seattle in sweet MLS victory

Agence France-Presse

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VICTOR Rodriguez evades Toronto defenders en route to scoring Seattle’s second goal in the 2019 MLS Cup in Seattle, Washington. AFP Photo

Seattle defenders Kelvin Leerdam and Victor Rodriguez and Peruvian striker Raul Ruidiaz scored second-half goals to spark the Sounders over Toronto FC 3-1 in Sunday’s MLS Cup championship match.

A noisy crowd of 69,274, the largest in the history of Seattle’s NFL and MLS stadium, roared in delight at the final whistle as the Sounders collected a second title in four campaigns.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” said Spanish reserve Rodriguez, who was named the MLS Cup Most Valuable Player. “I will remember this moment as long as I live. I’m really happy.”

It was the third championship match meeting over four seasons for Toronto and Seattle, but their first on US soil.

The Sounders won the 2016 crown on penalties after a goalless draw but the Canadian club avenged the loss by capturing the 2017 title 2-0.

“We are so competitive,” Rodriguez said. “We have really good mentality always. And at home with our fans it’s a little bit easier for us. I’m proud for all my teammates. We really deserved that.”

Dutchman Leerdam’s blast deflected in off Toronto defender Justin Morrow but officials chose not to call it an own goal in the 57th minute, the score against the run of play giving the Sounders the lead for good.

Rodriguez took a centering pass from Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro at the top of the box and smashed a right-footed shot into the far corner in the 76th minute.

Ruidiaz added Seattle’s final goal in the 90th minute, netting his seventh goal in six career playoff matches.

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