Tacoma Defiance’s playoff run continues as the team looks ahead to Sunday, where they will be facing off against Austin FC II (7 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV | TICKETS) in the Western Conference Semifinals at Starfire Stadium.
“It's been quite a journey,” said Defiance Assistant Coach Michael Morris.
It’s been a successful year for the Defiance squad, solidifying the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference standings.
They’ve mantained the momentum into playoffs, securing a quarterfinal 4-3 win over Houston Dynamo 2 on Oct. 1. And the journey continues into this Sunday, in hopes of utilizing their recent efforts from previous matches to solidify a win over Austin FC II and attain a ticket to the Western Conference Finals.
“We haven't been beaten in the last seven games,” said Morris. “We've been really consistent with the chances we're trying to create and finishing in those specific moments.”
It willl be a competitive match-up between Tacoma Defiance and Austin FC II as both teams came out with wins in their two previous regular season battles. While the Tacoma squad has home field advantage this Sunday, the team recognizes the different strengths from Austin they’ll need to shut down to take control of the game.
“[Austin] has conceded the lowest amount of goals throughout the course of this season,” said Morris. “So we expect a team that has a very clear structure in possession and a very clear way on how they protect and defend the goal.”
Defiance will also need to hone in on their own abilities to push them to victory.
“We're a team that, over the course of the last seven games, scored a lot of goals, so we have the ability to attack,” added Morris. “So, I think it’s going to be a really interesting game because their strength is their ability to defend and our strength is the ability to attack so it could come down to which team is better at leveraging their strengths than the other one.”
Sunday’s match marks the second time Defiance has made the Western Conference Semifinals since MLS NEXT Pro launched in 2022. The team closed out last season in a 2-1 Western Conference Final loss against St. Louis CITY 2, preventing them from advancing to the MLS NEXT Pro Final.
Now facing a chance at redemption, Tacoma Defiance is determined to close out the weekend with a win and square off with either Colorado Rapids 2 or Earthquakes II for the ultimate Western Conference Final showdown.
“We're really looking forward to [Sunday’s match],” said Morris. “It's going to be an exciting test against a team that has a very clear structure in all phases of play.”