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Sounders continue surprising turnaround by earning trip to MLS Cup final

Sounders continue surprising turnaround by earning trip to MLS Cup final
Sounders defender Roman Torres Coach Brian Schmetzer after defeating the Colorado Rapids in the second leg of the MLS Western Conference final on Sunday. (David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Jordan Morris' sensational rookie season was in jeopardy when he was sick to his stomach Friday. He's feeling a lot better after his performance Sunday.

Morris scored in the 56th minute and the Seattle Sounders advanced to their first MLS Cup, beating the Colorado Rapids, 1-0, on Sunday in the second leg of the Western Conference final.

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Nelson Haedo Valdez set up the goal to help Seattle take the series 3-1 in aggregate scoring. The Sounders will play Toronto or Montreal on Dec. 10 for the league title.

Toronto hosts Montreal in the second leg of the Eastern final Wednesday night. The Impact won the first leg 3-2 in Montreal. Seattle will host the final if Montreal prevails, but will travel to Toronto if needed.

A win there will cap an improbable turnaround for Seattle, which started the year 6-12-2 under Sigi Schmid but went 8-2-1 after Brian Schmetzer was named interim coach to get in the playoffs.

"It's funny looking back. Everybody thought we were dead in the water and now we move on," Morris said. "This team always believed we were good enough to make it and we proved a lot of people wrong. We've got one more game to go."

Morris, who was named the MLS Rookie of the Year on Nov. 10 after scoring 12 goals, said his stomach was hurting Friday and Saturday but started to feel better Sunday morning when he woke up. He was good enough to deliver a clutch goal.

"He's not only strong physically, he's also strong mentally," said Schmetzer, who had the interim tag removed Nov. 2. "He wasn't feeling his best and there were times in the first half he didn't look like the Jordan we all know and love, but in the one moment that it really counted he was mentally strong enough to score the goal we needed to push us through."

The Sounders won the first leg of the series in Seattle 2-1 on Tuesday night and needed only a tie to advance. They got more than that with a big goal from Morris.

It was the Rapids' first home loss of the season.

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