Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle Sounders hold on to move to Western Conference finals over FC Dallas

The Seattle Sounders advance to conference finals, where they will face the Colorado Rapids.

Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle Sounders hold on to move to Western Conference finals over FC Dallas
Nicolas Lodeiro scores vital goal for the Seattle Sounders. | Photo: USA Today Sports
FC Dallas
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Seattle Sounders
FC Dallas: Chris Seitz; Atiba Harris, Walker Zimmerman (Carlos Ruiz 62'), Matt Hedges (C), Maynor Figueroa; Kellyn Acosta, Mauro Rosales (Carlos Lizarazo 74'), Carlos Gruezo; Michael Barrios (Ryan Hollingshead 75'), Maximiliano Urruti, Tesho Akindele
Seattle Sounders: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso (C), Nico Lodeiro, Erik Friberg (Brad Evans 77'), Jordan Morris (Oniel Fisher HT); Nelson Valdez (Herculez Gomez 58')
SCORE: 1-0, min. 25, Akindele. 1-1, min. 54, Lodeiro. 2-1, min. 56, Urruti.
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. Harris (min. 27), Roldan (min. 27), Frei (min 67).
INCIDENTS: Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals leg two between FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders. The match was played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX in front of 14,878 spectators.

Despite, losing 2-1 on the night, the Seattle Sounders went through to the Western Conference semifinals following their 2-4 aggregate win over FC Dallas.

Dallas get early goal

Pressure came early from FC Dallas as they looked for that first goal. Maynor Figueroa, in the 14th minute, took a rip from well outside the 18-yard-box. His attempt deflected off of Maximiliano Urruti, and fell comfortably to Stefan Frei. Four minutes later, through a Figueroa diagonal ball over the top, Michael Barrios went close. Barrios took one touch to settle the pass before hitting the side netting.

Two minutes later, Atiba Harris got involved in the action for Dallas. Zach Scott blocked a shot on the way through to goal, but the deflection fell into the box. Harris quickly raced onto it, forcing Frei to make his second save of the night.

In the 24th minute, FC Dallas’ early momentum reached a climax. They won a couple of corners which pinned the Sounders defense in their own box. Dallas second corner got cleared out for a throw in and the hosts restarted quickly. Barrios threw it towards Harris who swung a dangerous cross towards the middle of the box. Tesho Akindele headed the delivery perfectly into the back of the net, beating the Seattle goalkeeper.

Seattle grew into the game after the half hour mark came and went. Nicolas Lodeiro, who has been a key figure in the Sounders revitalization, nearly put the visitors on the board. He hit a curving free kick from deep forcing Chris Seitz to push the effort onto the post.

There was nearly a second goal scored from Dallas in the opening half which would have flipped the match on its head. Off of another long throw, the ball pinged around, eventually falling to Walker Zimmerman. The big center back took a swing at the ball, but it was a poor hit, as it went well wide of the target.

Both sides score in second half; Sounders get crucial away goal

The Sounders had the first opportunity following the halftime interval. Lodeiro floated a cross to the block post, lasering its way to Nelson Valdez. Valdez had a free header inside the area, but missed the target to the left.

Three minutes later, Seattle leveled the match at one, and pushed the aggregate score to 1-4. Tyrone Mears took the ball off Zimmerman and hit a low ball through the middle of the area. Lodeiro came sliding in and put his effort past a helpless Seitz.

From the restart, and after a good period of sustained possession, Dallas answered immediately. Harris delivered an excellent cross to the back post where Mauro Rosales headed it towards the other side. There waiting, and with Frei caught out of position, Urruti nodded home from very close range.

Maximiliano Urruti pulls one back for FC Dallas. | Photo: USA Today Sports
Maximiliano Urruti pulls one back for FC Dallas. | Photo: USA Today Sports

Dallas did not really offer much after their goal, however, not until the match ticked closer to the 90th minute. Carlos Lizarazo had an attempt saved in the 87th, before Kellyn Acosta missed the target a minute later. Then, deep into stoppage time, after some last ditch defending from the Sounders, Ryan Hollingshead had a shot blocked.

The Seattle Sounders will host the first leg of the Conference semifinals against the Colorado Rapids following the international break.

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