The Seattle Sounders closed out the Round One three-game-series on Friday night with a 1-0 win over FC Dallas and the opportunity to continue their playoff journey to the Western Conference Semifinals.
“When it comes to playoffs, it's the tenacity of a team or the intensity that we come out with in the first 15 minutes,” said defender Alex Roldan. “You could see what our goal was and it was to advance.”
The cohesiveness amongst the Sounders players on both sides of the pitch proved critical to the team’s success in the difficult 90 minutes of Match 3.
But it was the team’s collective defending that prevented FC Dallas from scoring, ultimately pushing the team to victory.
“We didn’t let them have any clear chances,” said Roldan. “The fact that they didn't have a shot until the 85th minute just goes to show what our mindset has been in the playoffs.”
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer added, “Even at the end, everybody was scrapping. There were a lot of big plays.”
And with the help of the constant support from the fans in the stands, there was no stopping the Rave Green.
“[The fans] are a big part of why we win games at home,” said midfielder Albert Rusnák. “We could certainly feel it [on Friday], especially the second half when things got tough. They were loud, and we could hear them, and so we kind of fed off their energy.”
The offensive component was present with Rusnák’s game winner in the first half, but the team hopes to execute on more goal scoring opportunities come Nov. 26 when they take on LAFC in the conference semifinals (6:30 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM, Sirius XM FC 157 | TICKETS).
“We are a team that creates a lot of chances, but I think our execution has been off this year,” said Roldan. “So, leading up to this next game, that's what we need to perfect and hopefully we can win with a few goals.”
Last Friday’s match marked the Sounders’ 16th clean sheet this year, with regular season and playoffs combined. For Schmetzer, that serves as a positive sign as the team looks ahead to their match against the former Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup winners.
“If you keep clean sheets, you're going to go pretty far,” he said. “So, I’m very proud of this group.”