The Sounders (19-10-8) advanced to the MLS Cup final for the third time in the past four seasons. On Nov. 10 (3 p.m. ET on ABC), they will play the winner of Wednesday night's Eastern Conference final between Atlanta United and Toronto FC. If Atlanta wins, it would host the MLS Cup, while Seattle would play host if Toronto captures the East title.
As for Tuesday, Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said he understood the pressure the home team faces in one-game playoffs, having been there last season. And he was emphatic in praising his team for overcoming some early adversity against top-seeded LAFC.
"We came out and went down a goal and came back and scored three in their home," Schmetzer said on ESPN immediately following the match. "So you guys tell me if my team deserves some credit."
It was a difficult defeat for Los Angeles, which set an MLS record with 72 points during a 21-4-9 regular season.
"It's frustrating to have a home game in the semifinal with a chance to host the final and not get it done. We all feel that way," LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. "We will continue trying to take the football ideas we have, challenge guys and continue to develop. There were a lot of good things this season, but in this moment the only thing that every one of us feels is disappointment."
LAFC's Carlos Vela, who scored a league-record 34 goals in the regular season and added two more in a 5-3 playoff victory against the rival Los Angeles Galaxy last week, was kept off the scoresheet. Eduard Atuesta scored the lone goal for the Black & Gold.
Leading 2-1 at the half, the Sounders got an insurance goal by Ruidiaz in the 64th minute. A long pass down the left wing was chested down by LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman, with the ball falling directly to Lodeiro. He found an open Ruidiaz in the middle of the field, and Ruidiaz's 18-yard shot skimmed just inside the left post, past diving goalkeeper Tyler Miller.
Los Angeles opened the scoring in the 17th minute after Vela was fouled about 25 yards out. Both Vela and Atuesta stood over the free kick to fake out the Sounders before Atuesta curled the ball just inside the left post and out of the reach of goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
The lead didn't last long.
Seattle tied it in the 22nd minute as Ruidiaz took a pass from Lodeiro in the middle of the field near the top of the arc atop the 18-yard box. Ruidiaz made a nifty move past one defender and blistered a 15-yard shot into the upper right corner of the net, leaving Miller nearly flat-footed. Jordan Morris also got an assist on the goal.
The Sounders took the lead just four minutes later on what started as a three-on-two break. Midfielder Joevin Jones, wide on the right wing, waited to make a cross and found Lodeiro trailing the play. Lodeiro's low, 22-yard shot skipped just inside the right post to make it 2-1.