Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs (Western Conference Semifinal -First Leg) – Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Sunday, October 30 – 21:30 ET (01:30 GMT)
Match Odds: Seattle 11/8 – Draw 85/40 – Dallas 2/1
Seattle Sounders host FC Dallas in the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinal showdown at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night, in what is a repeat fixture from a year ago.
FC Dallas edged past the Sounders in the Conference Semifinal 12 months ago, winning a dramatic second leg in Texas on penalties after losing the first leg in Seattle.
Another dramatic tie is expected this time around, with both sides entering the postseason in fine form. Seattle beat SKC 1-0 in the Knockout Round on Thursday and will now be looking to continue their fine form by taking one more step towards the MLS Cup Final.
The Sounders are now unbeaten in their last nine home games and will expect to finish the game on Sunday with at least a draw heading into next week’s second leg.
Seattle weren’t at their best on Thursday but still got past SKC. The only worry would be that if they play the same here, they’ll likely be punished by the top team in MLS.
Dallas will be in high spirits after claiming a first-ever Supporters’ Shield title last weekend. They were able to enjoy a Knockout Round bye for the second-straight season and will be relishing the prospect of this game now.
Oscar Pareja’s men have been in fine form of late, going unbeaten through their last eight in all competitions. They ended the regular season with a draw at LA but did beat Seattle 2-1 at home the week before.
That result might have some bearing on this game. Seattle led for much of the game but two Dallas goals in the final 11 minutes saw them take all three points. That was the Sounders’ only loss in their last nine and so this one couldn’t be better poised.
Seattle Sounders remain without Clint Dempsey for the rest of the year, while Andreas Ivanschitz and Dylan Remick look set to miss out again. Nelson Valdez will be hoping to start after coming off the bench to net the winner against Sporting Kansas City on Thursday.
FC Dallas will be without Mauro Diaz for the playoffs, while Zach Loyd is still doubtful as he’s struggling with concussion. Kellyn Acosta was expected to be out for weeks but could make a return to the side after being listed as ‘questionable’.
Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/D/L/W/W
FC Dallas’ last five: D/D/W/W/D
Key Stat: The home side has won this fixture in each of the past six meeting between the two sides, including their two playoff clashes at this exact stage last year.
Key Player: Nicolas Lodeiro – Once again, the Sounders playmaker is set to play a crucial role in how his side plays on Sunday night. When on form, the Uruguayan is unstoppable and the home side need their star man to shine if they are to leave CenturyLink Field with a first-leg victory here.
Seattle Sounders 2-1 FC Dallas – This is an enormous game for both sides. Seattle know they have to win the home leg to stand a strong chance of progressing against the Supporters’ Shield winners, especially after last year’s heartbreaking playoff exit at the hands of Dallas in Texas. There should be goals but ultimately, Seattle look likely to keep their strong home form going with a narrow win ahead of what should be an incredible second leg next weekend.