Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinal (Second-Leg) – FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders
Venue: Toyota Stadium – Sunday, November 6 – 21:00 ET (02:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Dallas 8/13 – Draw 11/4 – Seattle 4/1
FC Dallas host Seattle Sounders in the second-leg of their Western Conference Semifinal showdown on Sunday night, with the hosts looking to overturn a three-goal margin after the Sounders stunned them with a 3-0 win last weekend.
Dallas were torn apart during eight second-half minutes at CenturyLink Field last Sunday, with goals from Nelson Valdez and Nicolas Lodeiro seemingly putting this game out of FCD’s reach.
The Supporters’ Shield winners are the top seed in this year’s playoffs but look likely to see their playoff journey come to an end at the first hurdle, unless they can produce something magical at Toyota Stadium on Sunday.
They need to replicate the 3-0 scoreline to take the game to extra-time, but an away goal from Seattle would mean that the hosts need to score five, so they are facing one of the biggest challenges in their history here.
Seattle know they just need to remain organised at the back and try and hit Dallas on the counter here. A goal would surely be enough to put them through, and they’ll be confident of bagging at least one after scoring 14 in their last 7 away games.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer has this week seen the ‘interim’ tag removed from his job title. He has done incredibly well to guide the team to the position they’re in now when you consider they looked dead and buried in July.
These two met in one of the most dramatic playoff games ever at this exact stage last year. Dallas overturned a 2-1 Seattle lead from the first-leg to advance on penalties but the fact that they have to come from three goals down this time means a repeat result is far from likely.
FC Dallas remain without Zach Loyd and Mauro Diaz for the second leg. The loss of Diaz really hurt FCD last weekend as they seemingly had no creativity in midfield. They will need to try and cope better without him this time if they are going to have any chance in progressing. Oscar Pareja went with a 5-3-2 last weekend but is unlikely to lineup with the same team here.
Seattle are likely to name the same team here, and will be able to enjoy playing on the counter attack from the word ‘go’. Clint Dempsey remains out with a heart problem, while Dylan Remick and Oalex Anderson are doubts.
FC Dallas’s last five: D/W/W/D/L
Seattle Sounders’ last five: D/L/W/W/W
Key Stat: FC Dallas have won their last three games against Seattle, but have never beaten the Sounders by three or more goals.
Key Player: Nicolas Lodeiro – The Uruguay international tore Dallas apart during the second-half of last week’s match, scoring twice to put one foot in the Conference Final. He will need to be at his best again here as the Sounders look to finish the job without too much trouble. Playing on the counter will suit Seattle, and Lodeiro will be pivotal once again here.
FC Dallas 2-1 Seattle Sounders – This has the potential to be a nightmare match for Dallas. Yes, they are already facing an near-impossible task, but they know they have the attacking quality to score three goals here. The problem is they will have to commit bodies forward to do so, and that plays into Seattle’s hands as they can hurt the Sounders on the counter, as they proved last weekend. Dallas should still win the game but Seattle are surely heading to the Conference Finals.