The Seattle Sounders
advanced to the Western Conference Finals
on Sunday night with a 4-2 aggregate win over FC Dallas
. Seattle lost Sunday’s match in Frisco, Texas
2-1 but the goals scored in their 3-0
win last weekend were enough to see them through to MLS’
final four. The Texas side made the match interesting by scoring an early goal, but the first leg deficit was simply too much for double winning Dallas to overcome.
Seattle Advances In Style
Seattle repeated the lineup that was so effective in the first leg at CenturyLink Field.
FC Dallas coach Óscar Pareja continued to tinker with his roster in an attempt to find something effective in the absence of Mauro Díaz. He returned to the 4-2-3-1 formation Dallas favored when Díaz was the lineup. Thirty-five year old Argentine Mauro Rosales assumed the playmaking role and Tesho Akindele returned to the starting eleven underlining the Texas side’s need for goals.
FC Dallas found a life line in the 24th minute when Tesho Akindele headed the home side into the lead. Michael Barrios started the scoring move from a throw in. He found an active Atiba Harris on the right side who hooked a cross into the center of the box. Canadian international Akindele connected with the cross and headed it off the crossbar where it ricocheted into goal.
Seattle nearly equalized against the run of play in the 37th minute when a curling Nico Lodeiro free kick was touched onto the post by Dallas keeper Chris Seitz before being cleared.
Walker Zimmerman should have put the home side ahead by two in the 39th minute when a ball fell to the center back in the box after a throw in. He had a clear shot at goal with his right foot but sliced it agonizingly wide.
The half ended 1-0 to FC Dallas, but the home side needed at least two more goals to level the contest on aggregate.
The match was largely decided in the 54th minute when Walker Zimmerman was dispossessed deep on Dallas’ left side by Tyrone Mears. Mears wasted no time and delivered a precision pass for Nicolas Lodeiro who thumped it through Seitz and into goal. This away goal plus the overall deficit would prove too much for Óscar Pareja’s side to overcome.
The home team got one back in the 56th when Atiba Harris crossed into the box, again from the right. The ball found Mauro Rosales who headed it back across goal for Maxi Urruti. The Argentine front man headed it home from close range to give FC Dallas a glimmer of hope.
Carlos Ruíz was introduced in the 62nd minute to find goals for Dallas but had limited impact on the match. Fourth seed Seattle managed the final half hour of the game well, limiting Dallas’ chances and wasting precious time when possible. The match ended with a 2-1 Dallas win, but a clear cut aggregate victory for the visitors from Washington state.
Western Conference Final Awaits
The Seattle Sounders amazing comeback season continues as they move forward in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Brian Schmetzer’s side advances to the Western Conference Finals and will face the two seed Colorado Rapids, who defeated the LA Galaxy in a second leg penalty shootout.
FC Dallas’ historic double winning season comes to a disappointing and abrupt end. Óscar Pareja and his team clearly have a lot to be proud of after another successful campaign, but the Dallas faithful are left wondering how their season might have ended if Mauro Díaz had not been injured.
The Sounders have just over two weeks to rest and regroup given the upcoming international break. The MLS playoffs will not be the only thing in the agenda though, as seven members of the squad have been called up for international duty. Leg one of the Western Conference Championship between Seattle and Colorado will be played at 10pm ET on Tuesday November 22nd at CenturyLink Field.