Late Valdez goal keeps Sounders kicking in MLS Cup Playoffs

SEATTLE, WA—(MLSsoccer.com) Nelson Valdez’s dramatic late header settled a heated affair at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night, sending the Seattle Sounders through from the final Western Conference Knockout Round game with a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City.

PHOTOS: Jeff Halstead Match Gallery

Sporting had the better of the opening minutes in what would prove to be a high-intensity 90 minutes, with tempers flaring on both sides on multiple occasions throughout the contest. Stefan Frei was called into action twice within the first 10 minutes and continued to be vital for the Sounders throughout the game, making seven saves as the visiting team continued to create the better chances.

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Frei’s opposite number, Tim Melia, experienced a quiet evening, as the Sounders failed to register a shot on target until Valdez’s winning goal. That decisive moment came about as the ball came out wide to Joevin Jones on the left before the Trinidadian international whipped in a cross to the near post, finding a streaking Valdez for his first goal of the year.

Seattle will now turn their attention to a Conference Semifinal match-up with FC Dallas, a re-match of their series last year that was settled by a penalty shootout.

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Conference Semifinals

Two-game series, aggregate-goal format between conference top seed vs. lowest advancing seed from Knockout Round and conference second seed vs. highest seed from Knockout Round.

Sunday, October 30
3:00 PM ET Leg 1: Montreal Impact vs NY Red Bulls Stade Saputo ESPN
5:00 PM ET Leg 1: LA Galaxy vs Colorado StubHub Center ESPN
7:00 PM ET Leg 1: Toronto FC vs NYCFC BMO Field FS1
9:30 PM ET Leg 1: Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas CenturyLink Field FS1
Sunday, November 6
3:00 PM ET Leg 2: TBD vs TBD Higher seed hosts ESPN
5:00 PM ET Leg 2: TBD vs TBD Higher seed hosts ESPN
7:30 PM ET Leg 2: TBD vs TBD Higher seed hosts FS1
10:00 PM ET Leg 2: TBD vs TBD Higher seed hosts FS1

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