Nicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz scored two minutes apart early in the second half as the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders defeated the visiting San Jose Earthquakes 4-1 Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
Jordan Morris also scored for the Sounders (11-5-6, 39 points, 1.77 points per game), who moved past rival Portland and finished second in the Western Conference behind Sporting Kansas City.
- MLS Cup Playoffs: Points-per-game standings
- MLS on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)
The Sounders will play host to seventh-seeded LAFC in the opening round of the postseason.
Marcos Lopez scored for the Earthquakes (8-9-6, 30 points, 1.30 ppg), who will be the eighth seed in the West, but he also had an own goal. The Earthquakes will travel to Sporting KC in the playoff opener.
Lodeiro opened the scoring in the 52nd minute after his own free kick from the right wing. The ball bounced off several players in the penalty area before rolling back to Lodeiro, who had followed the play. His left-footed blast from 12 yards just inside the near post left San Jose goalkeeper James Marcinkowski flat-footed.
Ruidiaz scored in the 54th, off an assist from Cristian Roldan, who took a pass near midfield and dribbled the ball to the top of the 18-yard box, where he dropped a pass off for Ruidiaz. His 20-yard shot deflected off a sliding defender and found the net just inside the left post. It was his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
Lopez capped a remarkable five-minute flurry with a goal in the 57th minute. Lopez took a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box on the right wing. His powerful shot went over the head of a leaping Roldan, who was manning the near post, and goalie Stefan Frei was only able to get one hand on the ball before it crossed the goal line.
The Sounders capitalized on a San Jose turnover for their third goal. Lodeiro gained control about 30 yards out after a misplay and fed Morris, who chipped the ball over an onrushing Marcinkowski from about 10 yards in the 74th minute.
An own goal by Lopez in the 80th minute gave the Sounders a 4-1 lead. Morris' cross for Ruidiaz deflected off another defender and then off Lopez's left hip and into the net.
Frei and Marcinkowski were each credited with two saves.