Nicolas Lodeiro had a goal and an assist as the Seattle Sounders defeated visiting Real Salt Lake 2-0 Wednesday night in Major League Soccer's Western Conference semifinals.
Gustav Svensson also scored for the second-seeded Sounders (18-10-8), who will meet the winner of Thursday night's Los Angeles derby for the conference title. If top-seeded Los Angeles FC wins, they would host the conference final next Tuesday, while the fifth-seeded Galaxy would travel to Seattle if they pull off the upset.
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando, the 20-year veteran who has played his last game after announcing this will be his final season, kept his team in the game with seven saves.
But RSL (17-14-5) was unable to get much going offensively, putting just one shot on goal, a harmless attempt from long range by Damir Kreilach in the first half. RSL finished the game with 10 men after Everton Luiz received a red card in the 83rd minute for a hard tackle on Svensson near midfield.
Svensson opened the scoring in the 64th minute off a corner kick by Lodeiro. The Swedish international ran onto the ball near the top edge of the 6-yard box and flicked a header just inside the near post, leaving Rimando no chance.
The Sounders put the game away in the 81st minute, after defender Brad Smith sprung Raul Ruidiaz free with a long pass down the left wing. Ruidiaz drove deep into the penalty area before making a back pass for Lodeiro, whose left-footed, 15-yard shot curled away from Rimando and found the right side netting.
Ruidiaz nearly scored a third in second-half stoppage time, but his attempt was cleared off the line in the fourth extra minute.
After a scoreless first half, in which the best chance was Lodeiro's shot off the left post in the 5th minute, the Sounders pushed hard for a goal early in the second.
Cristian Roldan's diving header off a Lodeiro free kick in the 61st minute was tipped just over the crossbar by a leaping Rimando.