Saturday’s MLS Cup is the eighth time the Sounders have reached a league championship game in franchise history (but first in MLS). Here is the breakdown of their seven previous appearances in title matches.
Sounders in title games
Saturday’s MLS Cup is the eighth time the Sounders have reached a league championship game in franchise history (but first in MLS). Here is the breakdown of their seven previous appearances in title matches:
Cosmos 2, Sounders 1 — Aug. 28, 1977, Civic Stadium, Portland (NASL): Many regard this as the NASL’s most memorable finale because it was the last competitive match for Pele. But Cosmos forward Stevie Hunt stole the show with an early goal, and the assist on the game-winning score by Giorgio Chinaglia in the 77th minute. Tommy Ord scored for Seattle in the first half.
New York Cosmos 1, Sounders 0 — Sept. 18, 1982, Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego (NASL): The Cosmos wrapped up their fifth “Soccer Bowl” title by winning a rematch of the ’77 game. Unlike the matchup five years earlier, these were two division-winning squads. Again, it was Giorgio Chinaglia who was the difference-maker, who drove a shot high into the right corner of the goal in the 31st minute. Tacoma’s Mark Peterson started for Seattle.
Sounders 2, Atlanta Ruckus 1 — Oct. 12, 1995, Memorial Stadium, Seattle (A-League): For the second time in this best-of-three championship series, the result was settled in a shootout. Neil Megson and Dominic Kinnear converted penalty kicks, and the Sounders won, 2-1. Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann stopped four shootout shots. Jason Farrell’s header goal in the 81st minute forced overtime. Seattle had lost the first game in a shootout, 3-1.
Sounders 2, Rochester Rhinos 0 —Oct. 6, 1996, Memorial Stadium, Seattle (A-League): Despite finishing in third place during the regular season, the Sounders got hot in the playoffs to defend their A-League crown. Joey Leonetti tallied both goals, including the decisive one in the 85th minute on a right cross from Niall Thompson. The Sounders became the first Northwest professional franchise to repeat since the Seattle Totems hockey team in 1968.
Montreal Impact 2, Sounders 0 — Sept. 20, 2004, Claude Robillard Stadium, Montreal (USL A-League): A good run in the postseason, including series victories over Northwest rivals Portland in the first round, and Vancouver in the conference finals, gave Seattle a shot at its first USL title since the A-League merged into the new league. But Montreal outshot the Sounders, 16-5, and got goals from Mauricio Vincello and Freddy Commodore to give that franchise its first championship since 1994.
Sounders 2, Richmond Kickers 1 — Oct. 1, 2005, Qwest Field, Seattle (USL-1): Retiring Sounder Scott Jenkins went out in style, converted his penalty kick as the game-winner in the seventh round of a shootout. Richmond had a chance to tie, but goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale, the team’s final shooter, clanked his shot off the top of the crossbar. Also, this was longtime assistant Jimmy Gabriel’s final match on the sideline.
Sounders 4, Atlanta Silverbacks 0 — Sept. 30, 2007, Starfire Stadium, Tukwila (USL-1): With rumors that the franchise would soon join Major League Soccer, the Sounders made their penultimate season in the USL a memorable one — capped by a dominant effort over Atlanta. Franklin Pierce High School graduate Greg Howes scored the game-winner off the bench in the 18th minute. Weeks later, the Sounders were given the MLS nod for 2009.