Western Conference Semifinals - Leg One
Score: Sounders FC 2 vs. FC Dallas 1
Goal-scorers: Fabian Castillo (18’), Andreas Ivanschitz (67’), Clint Dempsey (86’)
Site: CenturyLink Field
Man of the Match: Chad Marshall. The veteran centerback showed why he’s the only three-time MLS Defender of the Year, doing his part to contain one of the most prolific attacking units in the league. Marshall won numerous aerial duels and was a calming presence for rookie Oniel Fisher, who made his first MLS Cup Playoffs appearance as Seattle’s starting left back.
Telling Stat: Including his game-tying goal on Sunday, Andreas Ivanschitz has been involved in a goal in five out of his eight appearances for the Sounders. In addition, Clint Dempsey found the back of the net for a third straight game on Sunday after doing so just once in his previous 12 appearances. The Rave Green have now scored five goals in their last five matchups with FC Dallas, with all of those goals coming in the second half.
What You Missed: An array of injuries forced Head Coach Sigi Schmid to make some changes to the squad that faced the LA Galaxy last Wednesday. Fisher took the place of the injured Leo Gonzalez (adductor strain) at left back, while Marco Pappa also returned to the starting lineup after missing the Galaxy match due to a hamstring strain. Osvaldo Alonso (adductor strain) and Brad Evans (hamstring strain) were not on the 18-man roster.
So What: Sounders FC has a one-goal edge heading into next weekend’s second leg in Frisco, Texas. The Rave Green can advance to the Conference Championship via a draw or victory, as well as a loss by one goal in which they score multiple times. Seattle will be aiming to knock FC Dallas out of the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second straight season.