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Top Seattle sports stories of 2017: Sounders win Western Conference to reach 2nd straight MLS Cup final

Dec 15, 2017, 7:00 AM
Clint Dempsey won Comeback Player of the Year as the Sounders reached the MLS final. (AP)...
Clint Dempsey won Comeback Player of the Year as the Sounders reached the MLS final. (AP)
(AP)

The 12 hosts of 710 ESPN Seattle have voted on the top Seattle sports stories of 2017. Each day we will count down to the top story of the year with an article by a different host. Today, Lydia Cruz of The Blitz at 6 covers the 10th biggest story of the year, the Seattle Sounders winning the MLS Western Conference and reaching the MLS Cup final for the second straight season.

The mere mention of soccer has been known to make American sports fans glaze over in apathy. I see your eyelids getting heavy. But even if your affinity for footie runs shallow – like dip-your-toe-in-the-wading-pool shallow – the Seattle Sounders’ 2017 season had more than enough moments to jolt you awake.

For the second consecutive year, the Sounders earned their ticket to the MLS Cup final. They overcame a sluggish start to the season, scoring droughts and injuries to game-changers like Jordan Morris. In the end, they fell just 90 minutes shy of hoisting the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy overhead once again.

Photo gallery: Sounders reach second straight MLS Cup final

Winning back-to-back championships in professional sports is just shy of impossible. Just ask the 1979 SuperSonics. Or the 2014 Seahawks.

You have to be the best in the league not once, but twice. You have to conquer recognizable opponents as well as more insidious competitors; fame, ego, lofty expectations.

Unfortunately for Seattle, the Sounders’ 2017 run ended without any hardware. That elusive repeat championship still evades the Emerald City. That’s not to say fans went home empty-handed, though. Instead we’re left with a few enduring memories as mantle-worthy as that 43-pound piece of sterling silver.

Clint Dempsey scoring the first home goal of the season, the first of 15 en route to winning Comeback Player of the Year.

Or how about 5-foot-7 Spanish spark plug Víctor Rodrí​guez deftly weaving through multiple Vancouver Whitecaps to net his first-ever MLS score?

And in the same game, goalkeeper Stefan Frei defying all laws of nature (and possibly those even in comic books) to make a fingertip save against Fredy Montero.

I’ll leave you with my favorite moment this season. One that will make even the shallow-end-of-the-soccer pool kids want to take a dip in Rave Green. On July 19, the Sounders made history with their 4-3 victory over D.C. United. They became the first team in MLS history to overcome a three-goal deficit to win in regulation time. Four different players scored four goals in the span of 27 minutes. And they did it without headliners Dempsey and Morris, who were away on Gold Cup duty.

What more do you need? Get in the deep end already.

A closer look at the Sounders’ run to a second straight MLS Cup final

Sounders’ quest for another MLS Cup falls short in 2-0 loss to Toronto

Frei returns to site of famous save for Sounders

Clint Dempsey win MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Sounders beat Whitecaps to move on to conference finals

Jordan Morris expects Sounders to have target on their backs

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Top Seattle sports stories of 2017: Sounders win Western Conference to reach 2nd straight MLS Cup final