Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres reacts to the crowd after scoring what proved to be the winning goal against Minnesota United on Sunday in Seattle. At left is forward Jordan Morris. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres reacts to the crowd after scoring what proved to be the winning goal against Minnesota United on Sunday in Seattle. At left is forward Jordan Morris. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Sounders lock down the West’s No. 2 spot in the MLS playoffs

Seattle’s Roman Torres scores the only goal in a 1-0 win over Minnesota United

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Welcome back, Roman Torres.

Torres scored in the 29th minute and the Seattle Sounders beat Minnesota United 1-0 in Major League Soccer action Sunday.

With the victory in their regular-season finale the Sounders finished second in the Western Conference.

Seattle (16-10-8) will host a first-round playoff game against FC Dallas. The Sounders are making their MLS-record 11th consecutive playoff appearance since joining the league in 2009. The two teams battled to a 0-0 draw in Seattle on Sept. 18. Dallas won the other game of the season series, 1-0 in Texas on June 1.

Minnesota (15-11-8), which started the day tied for second with Seattle, slipped to fourth and will host the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first round of the new single-elimination playoffs. It will be the first-ever playoff game for Minnesota.

Seattle’s scoring play started when Nico Lodeiro floated a corner kick from the left-wing side across the field. Joevin Jones picked it up in the right side of the penalty area, crossed a target ball toward the far post, and Torres — in his second game back from a 10-game suspension — ran onto it at the top of the 6-yard box. His header ricocheted off the turf and into the left side of the net past goalkeeper Vito Nannone.

Torres was suspended for 10 games at the start of August for violating the MLS substance-abuse policy. The defender returned to action as a late-game substitute Sept. 27 in a 1-0 victory at San Jose and got the starting call Sunday.

“I was very happy to be able to score and very happy to be back with the team,” Torres said through an interpreter. “It is very hard to be out of playing for 10 games. But this is a demonstration that during that time that I wasn’t able to play, I was preparing myself and keeping myself in good shape. After those 10 games, I (was) able to come back and play and make this very beautiful goal.”

Added Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer: “I’m happy for him. Roman is a very accomplished player on many different levels of this sport. He was able to overcome the whole suspension thing, and I’m just so proud he was able to keep himself in shape and kept believing in himself. He was a big part of this game tonight because he scored, but he also played very well defensively.”

Minnesota nearly tied the game in the 40th minute. Ethan Finlay picked up an errant pass by Brad Smith and streaked toward the goal, one-on-one against goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Finlay’s shot from directly behind the penalty spot banged off the left post and bounced away.

In the 74th minute, Finlay sent a dangerous cross through the 6-yard box, but it zipped past Mason Toye before he could get a foot to it.

“I don’t think we did enough with our possession, especially in the final third,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said. “The second half, it was virtually played in their half of the field. When you have that much possession and have that many bodies forward, for us not to create an awful lot was disappointing. I thought we were going to score all day and I thought we were going to catch them on the break. But it wasn’t to be.”

The game in front of 47,297 fans marked the return of midfielder Osvaldo Alonso to CenturyLink Field. An original Sounder when the team joined MLS in 2009, Alonso played for 10 years in Seattle and appeared in a club-record 267 games.

Alonso signed with Minnesota as a free agent in January. He was presented with a painting prior kickoff and was cheered loudly when he was introduced in the starting lineup.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Silvertips’ Niko Huuhtanen and Giants’ Jaden Lipinski fight for the puck during the playoff match up against the Vancouver Giants on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips will look to replace Huuhtanen in CHL import draft

The standout forward who scored 37 goals this past season recently signed a professional contract to play in Finland.

FILE - UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., right, tries to get by Southern California forward Isaiah Mobley during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on March 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. UCLA and Southern California are planning to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference in a seismic change that could lead to another major realignment of college sports. A person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, June 30, 2022, on condition of anonymity because the schools' talks with the Big Ten have not been made public said the schools have taken steps to request an invitation to join the conference. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
UCLA, USC leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The two schools announce they will be exiting the Pac-12 in 2024 in a major blow to the viability of the conference.

Seattle Mariners' Carlos Santana helps Cal Raleigh at home after they scored against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 30, 2022, in Seattle. Raleigh hit a two-run triple and scored on a throwing error. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Rodriguez, Raleigh lead Mariners over Athletics

The young standouts each come up with big hits in Seattle’s 8-6 victory over Oakland.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox pitchers fan 19 in win over Emeralds

Alberto Rodriguez adds a two-run blast in Everett’s 4-3 victory.

The roof-top sign for Climate Pledge Arena is shown next to the Space Needle, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, ahead of the NHL hockey Seattle Kraken's home opener Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks in Seattle. The historic angled roof of the former KeyArena was preserved, but everything else inside the venue, which will also host concerts and be the home of the WNBA Seattle Storm basketball team, is brand new. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seattle to host NBA preseason game between Blazers, Clippers

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell declined to comment on any recent conversations with NBA officials about expansion to the city.

Evergreen Speedway remains closed due the stay-at-home order while NASCAR will run it's first race since the pandemic began on Sunday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Community roundup: Evans tops podium at Mark Galloway Shootout

Also, EvCC athletes named All-American, Tulalip native signs with MLB organization and more.

Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas (31), wide receiver Cade Johnson (88), and wide receiver Aaron Fuller (13) walk off the field after NFL football practice Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seahawks announce training camp registration date for fans

Fans must register through the team’s website starting Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)
Rodriguez hits 12th home run, Mariners topple Orioles

Seattle tops Baltimore 9-3 for its seventh win in the past nine games.

Dallas Wings' Kayla Thornton, front left, and Marina Mabrey, right, defend as Phoenix Mercury center Tina Charles (31) shoots in the second half of a WNBA basketball game, Friday, June 17, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Storm sign former MVP Tina Charles

The 33-year-old center joins a roster that now has 4 former No. 1 overall picks.

Most Read