LAFC to host the Western Conference Final after 1-0 win against Seattle

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
LAFC keep their hopes of winning consecutive MLS Cup titles alive with their win against Seattle Sounders. They next host Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference Final.

LAFC, the reigning MLS Cup champion, are heading home as the host of the Western Conference Final after defeating Seattle Sounders 1-0 in front of a packed Lumen Field on Sunday night. The Black and Gold were heavily reliant on the MLS Golden Boot winner as he scored his fourth MLS Playoffs goal of the year and the heroic goalkeeping display of Maxime Crépeau who finished the match with seven saves. Seattle, who’d won their previous two playoffs matches against LAFC and hadn’t lost a playoff game at home in a decade with a 19-match unbeaten record, were unable to find the back of the net in spite of outshooting their opponents eight to two.

Crepeau’s evening showcase began when he pushed Josh Atencio’s left-footed shot from the top of the penalty area in the opening minutes. His next heart-stopping save came in the fourth minute when Jordan Morris outran LAFC’s defense during a breakaway. Despite Seattle’s control of the pace of play, possession and shots, it was the visiting team who had the only goal of the match when Timothy Tillman sent a ball in towards Cristian Olivera who dummied it and took on the Sounders defense allowing Bouanga to work his magic and carry the ball straight into the penalty area where he’s most dangerous. He easily picked his spot and shot into the top corner in the 30th minute. “I came to LAFC to set records, to win MLS like we did last year, and I’m really hoping that we can go back-to-back,” the Gabon-international stated afterwards when asked about his feelings about scoring his 37th goal of the year for LAFC.

The rest was written as usual for LAFC who have yet to lose this season when scoring the first goal of a league match. So, while the Sounders continued to press in the final 20 minutes, Crepeau was able to reply to just about every attempt by the Sounders, denying shots by Alex Roldan, Joao Paulo and Albert Rusnak’s. Nothing was stopping the Black and Gold from leaving Seattle with their victory. “Everybody put in a shift tonight and because of that we’re walking out of here with the win,” Ryan Hollingshead explained afterwards.

Next up for the 2022 MLS Cup champions is a chance to head to the Final and become the first team in 11 years to win consecutive titles in league history – but first, a revenge match on December 2nd against the 2023 U.S. Open Cup Champions, Houston Dynamo, who bested them in 2 straight matches in the regular season.

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