LAFC Sounders becomes one of MLS’s best rivalries
LOS ANGELES – The Seattle Sounders set the tone by winning the US Open Cup for its first three years as a member of Major League Soccer. In 2014 they won the Supporters’ Shield with the most points in the regular season. In 2016 they hoisted the MLS Cup for the first time. In 2019 they won it again.
Seattle has been a model of success for MLS from the start, and LAFC has endeavored to repeat that.
That is why there is never a lack of intensity, goals and storylines at every meeting between the two teams.
“Two organizations built on victory and success,” said Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer after the 1-1 draw on Saturday at the Banc of California Stadium. “We have high expectations and standards, which we also set [head coach Bob Bradley] and LAFC. Every time two aggressive franchises compete in big games, it becomes a rivalry. “
Make no mistake, none of these teams lack a real rival. Seattle is involved in perhaps the best rivalry in the league against the Portland Timbers, while LAFC is involved in perhaps the most exciting rivalry in the league against Crosstown opponents Los Angeles Galaxy.
However, it is getting difficult not to connect the Sounders and LAFC together. The very first game in Black and Gold history was in Seattle, a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Diego Rossi. LAFC’s first home goal was also scored against the Sounders, a wild free-kick winner from Laurent Ciman.
In the moment in which Really However, the blue, green and white confetti that rained in California on October 29, 2019 after the Sounders LAFC clinched a clinical 3-1 defeat in the Western Conference final should be highlighted. Seattle ruined a storybook season for LAFC that won Supporters’ Shield, set a series of records, and watched Carlos Vela win the home league’s MVP honors.
Seattle played spoilers and won the MLS Cup. In a post-game interview on live television, Schmetzer was asked how he was feeling. “Better than Bob,” he quipped.
Schmetzer later apologized for the comments, but they lit a flame. Seattle supported his coach’s conversation and sent LAFC back to the playoffs last season.
“We know for a fact that both teams are really behind each other at playing,” said Bradley. “Some of the games between us have been excellent. We are always happy that Seattle is a good rival. We have some really good wins against them and some certainly disappointing losses.”
The draw on Saturday doesn’t give anyone the upper hand. Big names like Vela, Rossi and Nicolas Lodeiro were missing due to injuries. But there was still another chance for Bradley and Schmetzer to test their luck against each other.
“It’s turned into a good rivalry,” said LAFC’s Mark-Anthony Kaye. “Obviously there are two top teams in the league that play from head to toe. We know what they’re capable of, they know what we’re capable of.”
The Sounders have never fallen below fourth place in the Western Conference, and as conference champions for four of the past five years, they’ll remain a favorite until someone says otherwise. LAFC are considered favorites to win the trophy this season.
In a few weeks, LAFC will be traveling north for another shot at the Sounders. You won’t see each other again until the end of October.
But could we be on a crash course for a possible playoff matchup in November?
The story says yes. And that we should all look forward to it.
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