Aussies Abroad: Smith and Seattle crowned MLS Cup champions

Brad Smith’s Seattle Sounders have lifted the Major League Soccer Cup for the second time following a 3-1 win over Toronto FC.

Second-half goals from Kelvin Leerdam, Victor Rodriguez and Raul Ruidiaz proved to be the difference between the sides in front of 69,274 supporters, a stadium record for a sporting event at CenturyLink Field.

In a repeat of the 2016 final, where the Sounders beat Toronto in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw, head coach Brian Schmetzer’s side triumphed once again. 

The visitors controlled possession, with 65%, but could not convert that dominance into goals as 21-cap Caltex Socceroo Smith helped the Western Conference side shut down the Canadian's attack.

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Brad Smith's heat map shows he had a lot of defending to do in the MLS Cup final

Opta Widget: Smith

Dutch right-back Leerdam made the break-through on 57 minutes, scoring Seattle’s first goal in an MLS Cup match, when his low, angled shot deflected off Justin Morrow and flew past Quentin Westberg in Toronto’s goal.

Rodriguez put the Pacific Northwest side in a commanding position on 76 minutes when the former FC Barcelona youth product guided a strike into the bottom corner from Nicolas Lodeiro’s lay off.

Pervuian designated player Ruidiaz hit his seventh goal in six career MLS Playoff games on the counter attack to put the result beyond doubt, before United States international Jozy Altidore grabbed a stoppage-time consolation.

Captain Lodeiro lifted the MLS Cup, while Rodriguez was named the Most Valuable Player.

Caltex Socceroos left-back Smith started in all three of the MLS Playoff matches and made 29 appearances during the 2019 season.

Seattle Sounder Brad Smith closes down Toronto FC's Tsubasa Endoh in the MLS Cup
Seattle Sounder Brad Smith closes down Toronto FC's Tsubasa Endoh in the MLS Cup

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Mabil provides spark in thumping win in Denmark

Awer Mabil created a goal as FC Midtjylland hammered FC Copenhagen 4-1 in a top-of-the-table Danish Superliga clash.

The Wolves opened up a seven-point lead at top over their title rivals with a resounding win that started when Sory Kaba netted on 28 minutes.

Caltex Socceroos attacker Mabil teed up Brazilian midfielder Evander to double the lead three minutes before half-time.

The floodgates opened after the break when Kaba grabbed his second on 52 minutes and, after former Hull City striker Dame N’Doye pulled one back, Erik Sviatchenko made it four on the hour.

James Jeggo helped Austria Vienna back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory against Mattersburg in the Austrian Bundesliga.

Jeggo’s side had not won in three league matches before goals from Alexander Grünwald and Thomas Ebner send them on their way at the Generali Arena.

Patrick Bürger grabbed a consolation for the visitors but Austria Vienna held on to improve to seventh in the ladder.

Trent Sainsbury was also celebrating a victory as Maccabi Haifa came back to beat Beitar Jerusalem at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Israel.

Shlomi Azulay put the away side in front but second-half goals from Dolev Haziza, 18-cap Caltex Socceroo Nikita Rukavytsya and Tjaronn Cherry sealed the win.

Maccabi Haifa sit in second place in the Israeli Premier League, three points back from leaders Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

Milos Degenek was a substitute as Red Star Belgrade drew 1-1 at Javor in the Serbian SuperLiga and Aziz Behich remained on the İstanbul Başakşehir bench in their 2-1 Turkish SüperLig win over Ankaragücü.

Meanwhile, Brandon Borello was an unused replacement in Freiburg SC’s 1-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga.

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Souttar celebrates cup triumph in England

Mat Ryan could not prevent a sparkling Manchester United attack from racing to a 3-1 win against Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford.

Two goals in three first-half minutes put the Red Devils in the ascendancy, as Andreas Pereira opening the scoring on 17 minutes and Davy Propper put through his own net two minutes later.

Lewis Dunk struck back for the Seagulls on 64 minutes but Marcus Rashford’s effort two minutes later clinched the result for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men. Aaron Mooy remained on the Brighton bench.

There was more joy for Harry Souttar, whose Fleetwood Town side advanced to the FA Cup Second Round with a 2-0 at Barnet.

Ched Evans opened the scoring for the Cod Army on 29 minutes before Ashley Hunter’s late-minute goal sealed the win at the Hive Stadium.

Mark Milligan was a substitute as Southend United fell to a 1-0 FA Cup First Round loss to Dover Athletic, while further north in Scotland, Tom Rogic remained on the Celtic bench as the Scottish Premier League leaders raced to a 2-0 win against Motherwell.

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