The Seattle Sounders will look to finish the job against FC Dallas when the two teams meet in the second-leg of their Western Conference semi-final on Monday night. The tie is level after a 1-1 draw last weekend but the Sounders have that all important away goal.
We can expect the Sounders to approach the game a bit more cautiously as a result, waiting for Dallas to bring the match to them, as the visitors need a goal to stand any chance. Both sides will be wary of the counter attacking threat each team has, as the stakes are incredibly high for a place in the conference final.
Dallas had some really good spells in the first-leg and definitely had chances to score more than just the one from the penalty spot, and that will encourage them ahead of Monday’s fixture.
Fabian Castillo impressed once again last week, running at the Sounders defence and on occasions got the better of them, forcing good saves out of Stefan Frei. Dallas will need him to have an influential performance if they’re to get themselves on the right end of the result.
[Fabian Castillo will be key for FC Dallas once again]
Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey both had some really good chances in the first-leg too and their experience will be key if the Sounders are to progress. Martins’ early one-on-one opportunity is the sort of chance he will be expected to convert, and if Seattle can get an early goal Dallas will have to press, and that will leave gaps in their defence.
Seattle’s home form: Played 17 – Won 12 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4
A cagey first-half will surely be on the cards, with neither side wanting to give each other any impetus or hope, and the longer it remains goalless the more Dallas will have to work to ensure they don’t lose by that away goal.
[Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey will need to put in another solid display at CenturyLink Field]
Both sets of fans, as well as the neutrals, will be expecting another tight affair. Given Seattle’s success already this season they can’t afford to take their foot off and will be expected to seal a place in the next round.
FC Dallas’ away form: Played 17 – Won 4 – Drawn 5 – Lost 8
The game will be exciting as it’s so delicately poised and there is the chance of extra-time and penalties if we have a repeat score of the first-leg, so everything to play for!
Key Player: Stefan Frei – The Swiss keeper made some crucial saves in the first-leg and will need to be on song again to ensure anything Dallas throw forward is soaked up.
Key Stat: Seattle could be the first team to win the treble (US Open Cup, Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup), which should inspire them to want this even more.
Seattle Sounders’ Last 5: W/L/D/W/D
FC Dallas’ Last 5: W/W/L/W/D
Prediction: Seattle Sounders 3-1 FC Dallas – Seattle to seal place in Western Conference final with relatively comfortable win.