SEATTLE, WA—The Sounders and FC Dallas were nil-nil at halftime Sunday night at the Clink in the first leg of the MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference semifinals. Then in just over 5 minutes Seattle put home three goals to claim a distinct advantage heading down south to Dallas for the second leg.
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||MTL 1 – NY 0||Highlights & recap|
|5:00 PM ET||Leg 1: LA Galaxy vs Colorado||LA 1 – COL 0||Highlights & recap|
|7:00 PM ET||Leg 1: Toronto FC vs NYCFC||TOR 2 – NYC 0||Highlights & recap|
|9:30 PM ET||Leg 1: Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas||SEA 3 – DAL 0||Highlights & recap|
|Sunday, November 6|
|2:00 PM ET||Leg 2: Colorado vs LA Galaxy||Dick’s Sporting Goods Park||ESPN & TSN|
|4:00 PM ET||Leg 2: NY Red Bulls vs Montreal||Red Bull Arena||ESPN & TSN|
|6:30 PM ET||Leg 2: NYCFC vs Toronto FC||Yankee Stadium||FS1 & TSN|
|9:00 PM ET||Leg 2: FC Dallas vs Seattle||Toyota Stadium||FS1 & TSN|
(Cover photo: Sounders FC Facebook)
With Dallas showing every intent to sit in, Seattle threatened on several occasions in the first half. In the opening minutes Nelson Valdez tried to finish Jordan Morris’ driven cross with his chest, only for Chris Seitz to scramble to his left and paw the ball away from the goal line.
Later Matt Hedges would have to make two goal-line clearances behind a prone Seitz, the first caroming off his teammate Victor Ulloa’s arm from close range to prompt Seattle handball shouts that went ignored by referee Ricardo Salazar. Then Seitz came up big to deny Morris as he cut inside from the left and uncorked a blast towards the near post.
But a cagey affair truly blew wide open five minutes after the break. FCD were clearly eager to pin back Sounders left back Joevin Jones, but the Trinidadian broke clear to serve in a driven cross from the flank that Seitz misread, allowing Valdez to lean across Maynor Figueroa and nod it home for a 1-0 Seattle lead.
The advantage was doubled just four minutes later when Seattle caught the visitors in transition, Morris racing down the left channel, beating Hedges and slipping a superb left-footed centering pass into Lodeiro’s path for a simple tap-in at the far post.
It went from bad to worse for Dallas in the 58th minute as Lodeiro struck again for the Sounders’ third goal in eight minutes. The Uruguayan did most of the hard work himself on this one, taking Jones’ long pass down the left wing and racing through a scattered and disorganized FCD back line before slotting underneath an exposed Seitz for a 3-0 lead that pushed the West’s No.1 seed to the brink of elimination before the series was half over.
Pareja brought Tesho Akindele, Mauro Rosales and Carlos Ruiz off the bench and rejiggered his formation, but nothing worked for Dallas and they now must score at least three times at home in order to keep their MLS Cup hopes alive.