Sounders, FC Dallas take unbeaten runs into playoff series

Seattle Sounders defender Alex Roldan isn’t a fan of Major League Soccer’s new postseason format.

The second-seeded Sounders will play host to No. 7 FC Dallas on Monday night in the opener of their best-of-three series in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

“It doesn’t make sense at all,” Roldan said. “Trying to add more games and turn this into an NBA format doesn’t make sense with this sport. … Teams are going to bunker down and they’re going to go for the (penalty kicks) and the opportunity to win it there. It can be anyone’s game when it comes to PKs.”

The Sounders will make their return to the playoffs after missing them last season for the first time in the club’s MLS tenure — since 2009. They won MLS Cups in 2016 and 2019 and the CONCACAF Champions League last year.

“The core of this group is the team that won Champions League, so we were there when we missed the playoffs,” Roldan said. “And now we’re here together trying to erase that memory.”

Both Seattle and Dallas ended the regular season on nine-match unbeaten streaks.

The Sounders finished 4-0-5, including a 2-0 victory at Western Conference champion St. Louis City on Decision Day. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei posted his league-leading 14th shutout of the season.

Dallas went 2-0-7 since the start of September. It snapped a streak of five straight draws with a 4-1 victory against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Decision Day to earn the No. 7 seed.

Bernard Kamungo scored twice for Dallas against the Galaxy. Ema Twumasi and Jader Obrian also tallied and Nkosi Tafari had two assists as Dallas scored all four of its goals in the first half.

“I wish we didn’t leave it down to the wire like that but it just shows the resilience of the team to have the right mindset coming away to L.A, against a team that had nothing to lose and putting a strong performance together like that,” Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal said.

Both matches this season between the first-round foes ended in 1-1 draws, July 15 at Seattle and Sept. 16 at Dallas.