MLS Cup Playoffs

Sounders focus on tactical improvements ahead of Friday's final First Round matchup against FC Dallas

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The Seattle Sounders’ fate in the 2023 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs will be determined on Nov. 10 as the team faces FC Dallas in the final match of the First Round best-of-three series (7 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS).

The Sounders' loss to FC Dallas in Match 2 on Nov. 4 prevented them from securing a spot in the Western Conference Semifinals early, but the team hopes to learn from Saturday’s mistakes and advance on Friday.

“[FC Dallas] out-worked us,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer on Match 2. “We’ve been focusing on the tactics of what worked in the first game and what didn't work in the second game. There were minor tweaks, so I think we have a good game plan.”

Something that worked in FC Dallas’ favor was the way they came out in minute one of the match on Saturday.

“They just came out really, really fast,” said center back Jackson Ragen. “They definitely made a couple tactical changes in how they press which didn't necessarily surprise us but I think it caused us some issues.”

The Seattle squad’s slow start also played a factor in the way Match 2 panned out.

“We didn't play well in the first 20 minutes, let's make that brutally clear,” said Schmetzer. “But then the response after that was pretty good, so we just can't fall in that hole.”

The Sounders are determined to change that narrative and set the tone of the match right away on Friday.

“We just have to make sure that the guys come out with the right energy,” said Schmetzer. “We have to make sure that without exposing ourselves, we come out on the front foot, play the way we want to play, dictate tempo, and have good transition moments.”

The players understand the weight that the upcoming match carries for the future of the team, but they remain optimistic in their ability to improve on the shortcomings from Saturday’s loss, hone in on the positive moments from the two Round 1 matches and secure a win on Friday.

“It's do or die. We know that,” said Ragen. “But I think there's been pressure on us in a lot of big games this year already.” 

“We just went 10 unbeaten, so I think it was bound to happen at some point that we were going to slip up and not have our best performance or result, but we're pretty confident that we can turn it around and just look forward to Friday.”

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