Sounders advance to MLS Western Conference Finals

Seattle_Sounders_FC.svgFRISCO, TX ––(  The Seattle Sounders are headed back to the Western Conference Championship for the third time in their history, and they’ll open the series at home in Seattle later this month.

(Cover photo: MLS Twitter)

The Sounders will host the Colorado Rapids in the first leg of the conference championship at CenturyLink Field on Tuesday, Nov. 22 (7 p.m. PT; FS1). Tickets for the match will be on sale via at 9 p.m. PT on Sunday evening for the team’s third home match of the 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs after the Sounders beat FC Dallas 4-2 on aggregate in the conference semifinals on Sunday night.

The two teams will play the return leg of the series at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., on Sunday, Nov. 27 (1 p.m. PT; ESPN).

The Sounders are unbeaten at home in the postseason this year (2-0) and are unbeaten in their past 10 games at home overall this season (8-0-2). The Rapids, meanwhile, were the only MLS team with an unbeaten record at home during the regular season (11-0-6).

The Sounders and Rapids met twice during the MLS regular season, with Colorado winning both matches. The Rapids won 3-1 on April 23 in Commerce City, Colo., and then posted a 1-0 win in Seattle on May 21. Both of those games came before the Sounders’ late-season surge, however, behind head coach Brian Schmetzer and playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro, who scored two goals in the crucial opening leg of the semifinal series vs. Dallas on Oct. 30 and added another on Sunday night.

The Rapids downed the LA Galaxy in a dramatic penalty kick shootout Sunday afternoon after the two teams played to a 1-1 aggregate draw over the two legs of their semifinal series. The Rapids have reached the conference championship five times in their history, most recently when they won MLS Cup in 2010.

The Sounders have never advanced past the conference championship, but they have also never lost at home in the penultimate round before MLS Cup. They beat the LA Galaxy in the second leg of their 2012 series and then won the Seattle leg of the teams’ 2014 rematch, but lost both series on aggregate goals or via the away-goal tiebreaker.

The Sounders and Rapids have met just once in their postseason history, when Seattle beat Colorado 2-0 in the 2013 Western Conference Knockout Round. The Sounders have largely dominated the all-time series across the regular season and postseason (14-5-2) since 2009.

The Rapids feature four former Sounders players on their roster, including two who featured prominently in the teams’ shootout win over LA on Sunday. Both Sebastien LeToux and Marco Pappa buried their attempts from the spot, while former Sounders Micheal Azira and Marc Burch have both been regular fixtures for the team this season.

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