SEATTLE, WASH. – After conceding a first-half goal to visiting FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders FC came storming back in the second 45 minutes of play on Sunday night to defeat the Texas-based side 2-1 in the first leg of the MLS Western Conference Semifinals. With the win, Seattle improves to 7-8-4 all-time in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, with the Rave Green now unbeaten on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field in eight of their past nine postseason matches. Sigi Schmid’s side looks to continue its postseason run one week from today, as Sounders FC aims to advance to the Western Conference Finals with a result in the second leg of the Semifinal Round at FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium on Sunday, November 8 (4:30 p.m. PT / FS1, FOX Deportes, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360 AM).
After Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey challenged for a through ball inside the FC Dallas area alongside Hoops defender Zach Loyd, the visitors countered via playmaker Mauro Diaz, who slotted a through ball of his own past Seattle’s backline into the feet of winger Fabian Castillo. The Colombian attacker threaded his way through the left flank before slotting a strike into the far side of Stefan Frei’s net, putting Dallas into a 1-0 lead.
Despite several Sounders FC first-half chances – including a narrow half-volley miss from Erik Friberg in the 33rd minute and a loose ball shot attempt from Clint Dempsey in the 41st minute – the Rave Green went into the break without a goal.
Seattle finally broke through with an equalizer in the 67th minute, as Austrian winger Andreas Ivanschitz picked-up the ball at midfield, drove through Dallas’ defense and buried a shot at Jesse Gonzalez’s far post. Leveling the score at 1-1, Ivanschitz becomes the fifth player in club history with at least one career goal and one career assist in the postseason, joining Brad Evans, Zach Scott, DeAndre Yedlin and Clint Dempsey. The midfielder has recorded a goal or an assist in three of his past four appearances across all competitions.
Sounders FC claimed the lead in the 86th minute of the contest, as Dempsey stepped-up to take a free-kick from just outside of Dallas’ 18-yard-box. Striking the ball cleanly, the Designated Player’s shot creeping inside of Gonzalez’s near post, cementing Seattle’s comeback and a 2-1 victory. With his third postseason strike for the Rave Green, Dempsey joins Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson as co-leaders for most postseason goals in club history. Dempsey holds team records in various postseason categories, including shots (38), shots on goal (17) and game-winning goals (2).
Seattle is now unbeaten in 11 consecutive matches across all competitions (7-0-4). The Rave Green ended the regular season with a stretch of eight unbeaten matches on four wins and four draws – the second-longest mark in club history – in addition to a win in SCCL Group Stage action and two postseason victories.
After three MLS matches in eight days, the Rave Green now have a full week of training before heading to Frisco, Texas to face FC Dallas in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals at Toyota Stadium. That contest is being played on Sunday, November 8 at 4:30 p.m. PT, with the match being broadcast nationally on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes, in addition to regional radio broadcasts throughout Western Washington on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM and El Rey 1360 AM.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – FC Dallas 1
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistants: Brian Poeschel, Philippe Briere
Fourth Official: Drew Fischer
Weather: Cloudy and 52 degrees
DAL – Fabian Castillo (Mauro Diaz) 18’
SEA – Andreas Ivanschitz 67’
SEA – Clint Dempsey 86’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Zach Scott – captain, Chad Marshall, Oniel Fisher; Marco Pappa (Nelson Valdez 62’), Andy Rose, Erik Friberg (Cristian Roldan 76’), Andreas Ivanschitz (Micheal Azira 90’); Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins
Substitutes not used: Troy Perkins, Chad Barrett, Jimmy Ockford, Gonzalo Pineda
Total shots: 14 (Dempsey/Martins, 3)
Shots on goal: 7 (3 players tied at 2
Fouls: 13 (Valdez, 3)
Offside: 2 (Martins, 2)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Ivanschitz, 2)
Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)
FC Dallas – Jesse Gonzalez; Je-Vaughn Watson, Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges – captain, Ryan Hollingshead; Michael Barrios, Ezequiel Cirigliano, Victor Ulloa, Fabian Castillo; Mauro Diaz, David Texeira (Tesho Akindele 71’)
Substitutes not used: Dan Kennedy, Atiba Harris, Moises Hernandez, Michel, Blas Perez, Walker Zimmerman
Total shots: 10 (Castillo, 4)
Shots on goal: 4 (4 players tied at 1)
Fouls: 14 (Ulloa/Texeira, 3)
Offside: 3 (Castillo, X)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Diaz, 2)
Saves: 5 (Gonzalez, 5)
- Sounders FC earned a result in its third consecutive postseason match and five of its past six. With a win, draw or a one-goal loss with multiple away goals scored in Sunday’s return leg, Sounders FC would advance to the Western Conference Championship for the third time in club history. A 2-1 loss would send the two sides to an overtime of two 15-minute periods followed by penalty kicks if undecided.
- Sounders FC is now unbeaten in 11 consecutive matches across all competitions (7-0-4). The Rave Green ended the regular season with a stretch of eight unbeaten matches on four wins and four draws – the second-longest mark in club history – in addition to a win in SCCL Group Stage action and two postseason victories.
- Seattle improves its record to 10-3-7 against FC Dallas in regular season and postseason action, including a 7-1-2 mark at CenturyLink Field. Fabian Castillo’s goal in the 17th minute ended Seattle’s streak of 379 scoreless minutes in the run of play against FC Dallas across all competitions.
- Sounders FC has recorded three consecutive multiple-goal games in the postseason for the first time in club history, dating back to last year's second leg of the Western Conference Championship. The team’s five playoff goals in 2015 matches the club record for a single postseason. By a count of 5-4, Seattle’s two fixtures in the 2015 postseason features more goals than the club attained in its first nine playoff matches, from October 29, 2009 – November 11, 2012.
- Andreas Ivanschitz became the fifth player in club history with at least one career goal and one career assist in the postseason, joining Brad Evans, Zach Scott, DeAndre Yedlin and Clint Dempsey. The Austrian midfielder has recorded a goal or an assist in three of his past four appearances.
- With his third postseason strike for the Rave Green, Clint Dempsey joins Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson as co-leaders for most postseason goals in club history. Dempsey holds team records in various postseason categories, including shots (38), shots on goal (17) and game-winning goals (2). He has scored in three consecutive competitions for the second time this season and third overall since joining Sounders FC.
- Due to injuries, Sounders FC played a postseason match without Osvaldo Alonso or Brad Evans for the first time. The two veterans each have 16 postseason appearances for Sounders FC – the highest mark in club history.
- With an attendance of 39,599 tonight, Sunday’s contest was the highest-attended Conference Semifinal match in MLS history, breaking Seattle’s own mark of 38,912 set last season against FC Dallas.