WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS - SECOND LEG
SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. FC DALLAS
Mon., Nov. 10, CenturyLink Field (10:30 pm ET | NBCSN, NBC LiveExtra, UDN, TSN2, RDS2)
Seattle Sounders FC are aiming to become the first Supporters' Shield winners in three years to advance beyond the first hurdle in the MLS Cup Playoffs when they take FC Dallas on Monday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC hold the upper hand for the return match, coming away from Toyota Stadium with a crucial away goal as the teams reached a 1-1 draw last weekend.
Sounders FC are aiming to complete the first-ever treble in U.S. domestic soccer by winning MLS Cup -- where they've never played before. FC Dallas are looking to reach the final for the second time in club history.
- WATCH: Checking in with beat writers ahead of Western Conference semis 2nd leg
- Four unheralded players who can tip the balance this weekend
- Which visiting team has the toughest challenge in 2nd leg?
- ExtraTime Radio: Can Sounders keep their dream alive?
- Big save vs. FCD highlights growth of Sounders 'keeper Frei
- Dallas defense credited with doing "small things" to shut down star duo
- ExtraTime Radio: Are Sounders in the driver's seat to advance?
- March to the Match: Breaking down the second leg
- Won't back down: Dallas keep eyes on advancement after draw
- Mature Sounders say "we played it exactly as we wanted to"
- Analyst: Sounders make it ugly, but make their point in Dallas
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo.
AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar;
4th: Edvin Jurisevic
WARNINGS (suspended next yellow card): SEA: Leo Gonzalez ... DAL: Je-Vaughn Watson, Andres Escobar
SEA 8 wins, 24 goals - DAL 3 wins, 17 goals - Ties 4
2014 HEAD-TO-HEAD: SEA 2 wins, 6 goals - DAL 1 win, 6 goals -Ties 0
AT CENTURYLINK FIELD:
5/7: SEA 2, DAL 1 (Neagle 62; Cooper 88 -- Michel 16)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: SEA 0 wins, 1 goal Ö DAL 0 wins, 1 goal Ö Ties 1
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
- The draw was just the second time in seven games in the MLS Cup Playoffs that Sounders FC have come away with points on the road. They won at Real Salt Lake in 2012 in the conference semifinals.
- "We're happy with the result," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. We talked about making sure that in game one we put ourselves in a position to win it in game two, and we've always done a good job of being at home in a second game, and winning the second game."
- Sounders FC are now winless in their last three games in the MLS Cup Playoffs, after dropping both legs in their Western Conference Semifinal Series vs. Portland a year ago.
- "We still need to win at home. We definitely don't want to get a 2-2 tie at home, but having an away goal certainly helps," Schmid said. "It means they (FC Dallas) know in order for them to come out with anything in Seattle they've got to win the game and if they're not going to win the game, they've got to get two goals. It puts a little more pressure on them."
- Osvaldo Alonso scored his third goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs in the 1-1 draw in the first leg, tying him for the Sounders FC all-time lead in playoff goals (along with Eddie Johnson, now with D.C. United). It was the first MLS goal of 2014 for Alonso, who did not score in 33 regular season appearances.
- Sounders FC are aiming to become the first Supportersí Shield winner since 2011 to advance beyond the conference semifinal stage. The LA Galaxy in 2011 won MLS Cup after winning the Shield. Only twice since 2003, when the current playoff format was adopted over the two conferences, have both regular season conference winners advanced to the divisional championships.
- Sounders FC have not lost in their last three games in league and cup, with two draws in that stretch. They have lost just once in their last six games overall.
- "The big knock we took all season was our defending," Schmid said. "I think when you look at us over the last three games I think weíve defended pretty well."
- Marco Pappa came into the starting lineup for the playoff opener, after coming off the substitutes' bench for the final two regular-season games, and set up the equalizer with his free kick service.
- "I thought Marco handled [conceding the penalty] well because he came right out and he helped possess the ball for us, which we needed, and he was vital in the result," said defender Zach Scott.
- FC Dallas has won just once in Seattle ñ a 1-0 win on May 25, 2011. Sounders FC have won the last four meetings between the teams at CenturyLink Field.
- "I have heard many times that Seattle is the best team in the league and they have achieved two trophies this year and that's the club that everyone is expecting to win it, but we'll see," said FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. "Not that we can't do it -- I know that we can do it. This group of players can do it."
- FC Dallas have not lost a true road playoff match since 2007. They won both away games in their run to MLS Cup 2010, winning at Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy.
- "We have 90 minutes and we can score there also," Pareja said. "It is what it is. The series is open. The first 90, and itís a tie. We will go to Seattle and trying to do what we can do. This team is not afraid to play anyone."
- Michel has scored from the penalty spot in each of FC Dallas' two games in the MLS Cup Playoffs this year. In the regular season, Michel scored five goals on penalty kicks; all eight of his league goals came from dead ball strikes (scoring three directly from free kicks).
- "Anytime you leave your feet in the box you always have the risk of conceding a penalty. The referee decided it was a penalty and Michel did a very good job taking it," said defender Zach Loyd. "Michel is money from the spot. He is solid. He has not missed one penalty this year."
- After Chris Seitz started the Knockout Round match, Raul Fernandez returned between the posts for the first leg vs. Seattle. "Part of our philosophy is to try to create a sense of inclusion. I think that with Chris and Raul, it has been very balanced. Both of them have had a very good season and stepping up when it was needed. [In the first leg] it was Raul."
- For the first leg vs. Seattle, Moises Hernandez came into the back four in place of Walker Zimmerman, and Andres Escobar returned to the first XI, replacing the suspended Mauro Diaz.
- "Could it have been different with Mauro? It could have always been different when you have that talent there by him, but I don't think too much about that. I don't think about what I don't have," Pareja said. "We had this group of players and they did an excellent job. Now we have Mauro back and we'll see how we prepare for the next one."