Columbus Crew SC beat the defending champion Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 with a pair of Lucas Zelarayan goals to secure the club's second MLS Cup title on Saturday night in the final match at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
An end-to-end, action-packed opening 20 minutes saw Sounders keeper Stefan Frei come up with a big save on Gyasi Zardes, and Jordan Morris fired just wide of the Crew goal on an ensuing counterattack as the match remained scoreless.
The hosts, who'd had the better of the first half, finally got on the scoresheet in the 25th minute when club-record signing Zelarayan got on the end of a Harrison Afful cross and beat Frei with a first-time shot to give Columbus a 1-0 lead.
Zelarayan then set up the second for Columbus, picking up a poor clearance and teeing up teammate Derrick Etienne for a composed finish that curled out of Frei's reach and doubled the Crew's advantage.
The defending champion Sounders looked somewhat shell shocked after going down two goals, and Columbus continued to have the better of the play and chances before taking its 2-0 lead into half-time.
Seattle picked up the tempo to start the second half after coach Brian Schmetzer brought on Gustav Svensson and Brad Smith following the break and added Will Bruin and Kelvin Leerdam at the 60-minute mark.
Still, the visitors struggled to create any clear-cut chances, and Columbus continued to force the issue in its offensive third as the home side held onto a two-goal lead.
Crew keeper Eloy Room palmed away a goalbound Morris header right on 80 minutes, and Columbus made Seattle pay seconds later when Zelarayan curled in his second of the night to put his team ahead for good.
"I'm over the moon. We wanted this from day one and we finally got it," Zardes said after the match.
Columbus coach Caleb Porter, who previously won MLS Cup with Portland in 2015, joins Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid as the only coaches to win titles with multiple teams in the league.
At full-time, the limited crowd on hand went wild as the Crew secured top honors in MLS at the end of a challenging, coronavirus-shortened season that restarted in July with the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Florida.
Defender Jonathan Mensah dedicated the victory to the home fans, saying: "A huge thank you to our fans. We are so grateful for their support and their love."
The Crew, who will move into a new stadium next season, also became just the seventh team to win multiple MLS Cups following their triumph in 2008, while Seattle failed to add to its championships of 2016 and 2019.
"I just want to congratulate Caleb and Columbus. That was a very good performance," Seattle Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. "I'm very proud of the season, not the last game, but the season that my squad put together.
"They worked hard. They fought until the end, but they came up short tonight. In the long run in the bigger picture, I think there's certainly a lot of success that follows this franchise and we hope to continue that."