SEATLE, WA – The Sounders took down FC Dallas 1-0 at Lumen Field on Tuesday. The win pushes Seattle through to the Western Conference Final for the 4th time in 5 years.
This match was night and day when compared to last season’s playoff matchup vs FC Dallas. A year ago, these two sides played a thriller that came down to a stoppage time goal by Jordan Morris to give Seattle a 4-3 win. That match was open and free flowing, which is what led to the shootout score line, but tonight’s Rave Green victory was all about grinding it out. What many call a professional victory.
It was chippy and great chances were far and few between. FC Dallas came out physical with Seattle instead of trying to get into a high scoring affair, knowing this season they did not have the firepower to compete with the Sounders high octane attack. It worked for the first 45 as we headed to the break all knotted up.
In all candor, some may say that it was less about how Dallas was playing and more of how Seattle was not finishing their chances. In the first half of play, the Sounders took 9 shots total with 5 being off target and 4 being blocked. On the opposite side Dallas was only able to muster 4 total shots and none of them were a real threat either.
Once the second half rolled in, the game had the feeling of being a nail biter. The heavy favorites just could not pull away and the scrappy underdogs were keeping it close. That was, until a corner in the 49th minute for said heavy favorite. Nicolás Lodeiro stepped up to the corner left of goal and whipped in an out swinging ball, and as many would have predicted it found the head of a defender. Shane O’Neill met the ball and sent it into the right of the net to give Seattle the lead and eventual game winner. It was only O’Neill’s second goal in his MLS career and his first as a Sounder, it could not have come at a better time.
WHAT A PLAY ?
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) December 2, 2020
Getting lost in the joy of a defender scoring was the man who got the assist. Lodeiro’s corner gave him the mark of 6 straight playoff games with an assist which is an MLS record. The league MVP finalist has 9 total playoff assists in his Sounder tenure, just showing how much of a tear he has been on.
The rest of the second half played out much like the first, Seattle having quality looks but not finishing and Dallas not having much of anything. As the final whistle sounded, Seattle secured their spot in the Conference Final for the 4th time in 5 years, with the other 3 appearances leading to births in the MLS Cup.
49’ SEA – Shane O’Neill (Assist: Nicolás Lodeiro)
As this article is being typed, that question has yet to be answered. The other side of the Western Conference bracket has Sporting Kansas City playing host to Minnesota United on Thursday. As you may have already known, the winner of that match will play Seattle for the chance to compete in MLS Cup 2020. What you may have not of known is home much the game impacts the Rave Green when it comes to hosting the Conference Final. If Sporting KC – the number 1 seed – wins then Seattle would get on a flight for Kansas City. If MNUFC get an upset win, then the Loons would fly to Seattle.
Coach Schmetzer stated in the post-game press conference that he and the team did not care who won that match. He would go on to say that it would be nice to play at home, but they will welcome any opponent. Coach also said he would be watching the game with a nice wine, so if you would like to do the same, the game is scheduled for a 5:30 PT kickoff and can be seen on Fox.
Russell is the Content Director for the Eli Network. He studied broadcast journalism at Eastern Oregon and North Dakota State University. Mostly covers soccer and basketball in the Seattle area and is the current play-by-play voice for Seattle Redhawks basketball. You can follow him @brussbrwn.