The Seattle Sounders can clinch their first-round MLS Cup playoff series with a win in Game 2 against host FC Dallas on Saturday.
The Sounders collected a 2-0 victory in Game 1 on Monday in Seattle. Albert Rusnak and Jordan Morris scored in each half, and Stefan Frei made four saves to earn his 12th career clean sheet in a playoff match.
With Seattle holding 57 percent of the possession and a 19-10 advantage in shots, Game 1 was a continuation of the all-around quality the Sounders have shown over the last two-plus months. Covering the regular season and Game 1, the Sounders are unbeaten (5-0-5) in their last 10 matches.
“I think the group mentality defensively is kind of what’s led us to be a really hard team to break down and score goals against,” Morris said. “Obviously it starts with Stef, he’s unbelievable. … But I think just the collective effort from the group to press well as a team, I think our pressing has really come a long way in this stretch.”
To keep their season alive, FC Dallas will have to figure out a way to solve Frei and the Sounders defense. However, that task will be even more difficult for Dallas, which won’t have without forward Alan Velasco after he suffered a torn left ACL in Game 1.
“Everyone is sad because Alan is a lovely kid,” FC Dallas coach Nico Estevez said. “We all love him, not only for what he brings on the field but off the field he’s an amazing guy and teammate. … I think the team has to use this as motivation to do something great for him.”
Monday’s loss ended FC Dallas’ own unbeaten streak, as Dallas hadn’t lost in its last nine (2-0-7) matches of the regular season. That streak included the Sounders’ previous visit to Dallas, a 1-1 draw on Sept. 16.
FC Dallas was 7-3-7 at home during the regular season. The Sounders were 7-5-5 on the road, ranking fourth in the league in points (26) accumulated in away matches.
Should FC Dallas win Saturday, the decisive Game 3 will take place Nov. 10 in Seattle.
–Field Level Media