Sounders silence Pumas, end Liga MX dominance

The Seattle Sounders celebrate after beating Liga MX team UNAM to win the ConcaChampions title (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The Seattle Sounders celebrate after beating Liga MX team UNAM to win the ConcaChampions title (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
CCL MLS beats Liga MX
Seattle players react as a deflected shot gets past Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera to open the scoring in the Concacaf Champions League Final. The MLS team defeated the Liga MX club 3-0. (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images) /

Seattle outgunned a short-handed UNAM side and ran away with a 3-0 win to claim the 2022 Concacaf Champions League trophy, the first time an MLS club has won the regional tournament in its current format.

Former Liga MX star Raúl Ruidiaz scored twice and team captain Nicolás Lodeiro pumped home the clincher in minute 88 while the Pumas only managed a single shot on goal, but that save by Sounders goalie preserved his team’s 1-0 lead and prevented UNAM from turning the tide.

In minute 45, Ruidiaz – the former Monarcas Morelia scoring champion – got off a quick shot from just inside the box that deflected off Diogo and past goalie Alfredo Talavera.

The Pumas really missed wingback Alan Mozo – injured in the first leg of the CCL Final – and most of their attacking efforts were launched from the left side but left winger Washington Corozo had mixed success, primarily because Seattle’s coverage in the box was impeccable.

In minute 64, Corozo wriggled free wide left and lifted a cross to the back post where Diogo rose above his marker, pounding a header that Stefan Frei batted free off a short-hop and his defenders cleared the loose ball.

Pressing forward in search of a good look at goal, UNAM patiently kept possession but failed to create clear scoring chances. Inevitably the overworked Pumas – the match was the club’s sixth in 18 days – wore down and Seattle twice ran out on lethal counterattacks to ice the game.

Ruidiaz was the beneficiary of the first break-out. Alex Roldán sent Jordan Morris ahead of the defense down the right flank and he dribbled into the box before cutting a pass back to Lodeiro who one-touched it ahead to the Ecuadorian striker at the left side. Ruidiaz slotted home to make it 2-0 in minute 80.

Eight minutes later, Lodeiro blasted home point-blank range after a Seattle steal was turned quickly into offense. Albert Rusnak found Morris alone at right and he stepped inside Efraín Velarde before zipping a shot that Talavera parried off the far post. The unmarked Lodeiro had easy pickings and it was 3-0.

The Liga MX has dominated this tournament since Concacaf adopted the Champions League format in 2008. Liga MX clubs had won the past 16 ConcaChampions tournaments and won the final two Champions Cup trophies, meaning a Mexican team had won the previous 18 Concacaf club tournaments.

Next. Liga MX: Clausura 2022 wrap-up. dark

The last time an MLS club won a Concacaf trophy was back in 2000 when LA Galaxy defeated a Honduran side Olimpia. This was the first CCL Final for the Pumas who last played in a Concacaf Final in 2005, losing to Costa Rica’s Saprissa.