Sounders FC Vs. FC Dallas: What To Expect


After Seattle Sounders FC clinched home field advantage throughout the MLS Cup playoffs by winning the Supporters’ Shield – which, holy crap, the Sounders won the Supporters’ Shield – they began a waiting game. With the top seed in the playoffs secured, attention turned to FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps, who played their first round elimination game three days ago. Dallas won, 2-1, and moves on to face Seattle.

A recap of how the MLS playoffs work: the fourth and fifth place teams in each conference play in a one game, winner-takes-all first round, with the winner going in to play the first overall seed while the second and third place teams play in the other Conference Semifinal. The Semifinal is played as a two-legged aggregate, with the higher seed playing the second game at home. This format golds for the Conference Finals, too. Goals in the away game are used to determine any potential tiebreakers.

So it’ll be Seattle and Dallas, first in Dallas, then in Seattle. Whoever scores the most goals in 180 minutes moves on to the Western Conference Finals, somewhere the Sounders have only been once before.

We all know the strengths of this Sounders team: superstar forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins lead the offense, with help from midfielders Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle. The defense is anchored by DeAndre Yedlin and goalkeeper Stefan Frei. The Sounders have yet to miss the playoffs as an MLS team, and this season was pretty easily their best yet. They’re presumably favorites for the Cup, despite their previous playoff woes.

Dallas has a snazzy offense of their own, with forwards Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo joined by Rookie of the Year candidate Tesho Akindele. Their offense was fourth-best in the Western Conference, scoring 55 goals on the year. Their stingy defense allowed only 45 goals, better than the Sounders’ 50 and again good for the fourth-best mark in the conference. Raul Fernandez is an excellent goalkeeper, and he’s got a strong defense in front of him.

Dallas FC was pretty clearly a better team than Vancouver, and will be a much tougher test for Seattle in their opening playoff round. Dallas has been excellent at home on the year, which may well give them an advantage in the series’ opening game. On the road, however, they were a miserable 3-8-5, and at one point went ten road matches without recording a win.

CenturyLink Field, of course, gives the Sounders a pretty ridiculous advantage, and so the goal will be to pile on in game two after hopefully coming up big in game one. That’s the most obvious way to sum up any short playoff series like this: both teams will try really hard, and hopefully the team we like will win big. As to what will actually happen, who knows. It’s two games. Crazy things happen in sports. Sports are literally upredictable.

Two potent teams, each with a particular knack for winning at home. Sounders FC with a real shot at making the Conference Finals. What more could you ask for? Kickoff’s at 6pm PST in Dallas tomorrow evening. It should be a wild time.