Sounders, FCD set for second leg at CenturyLink

Seattle, WA ( – Seattle Sounders FC return home to face FC
Dallas on Monday at CenturyLink Field in the second leg of the clubs’ Western
Conference semifinal series.

The club met three times during the regular season and each game was fairly
close, with Seattle winning two one-goal affairs in April and May, while FC
Dallas claimed a 3-1 win over Seattle in September.

The sides matchup well with FC Dallas’ young, quick forwards against Seattle’s
sturdy back line, and the first leg of the series was a tight affair with the
clubs finishing level at 1-1 at Toyota Stadium.

It was the home side the grabbed the lead in the 34th minute when Andres
Escobar worked his way past two Sounders into the penalty box and was taken
down on the slide by Marco Pappa, resulting in a penalty kick.

Michel stepped to the spot and blasted it past the outstretched arm of Seattle
goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

Seattle drew level in the 54th minute with some excellent set-piece work.
Pappa atoned for his rash tackle earlier by sending a perfect free kick
between the FCD back line and the goalkeeper, allowing midfielder Osvaldo
Alonso to find some space and nod it down and past FCD goalkeeper Raul
Fernandez for his first goal of the postseason.

Dallas had a late chance to take the lead in the 90th minute as Fabian
Castillo got free down the right flank and forced a superb save from Frei, who
parried a quick strike over the crossbar.

The draw favors Seattle slightly in Monday’s second leg as the club has an
upper hand via the newly-instituted away-goals tiebreaker. Should the match
finish scoreless, the Sounders would advance.

Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said his club played the first leg exactly how
they wanted.

“We’re happy with the result,” Schmid said. “We talked about making sure at
the end of game one we put ourselves in a position to win it in game two.
We’ve always done a good job of being at home in the second game and winning
the second game.”

“I think in years past we were maybe a little naive coming into this first
series playing away and finding ourselves in a deep hole,” center back Zach
Scott added. “Now with the new away goals rule I thought we played it exactly
the way we wanted to.”

FC Dallas did well to match wits with Seattle stars Clint Dempsey and Obafemi
Martins, holding them both off the score sheet and despite not getting the
win, the team was encouraged by the performance.

“I think it show a lot of our character,” FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges said.
“It didn’t look like we had played three games in eight days. Everybody had
fresh legs, put in their work and it got us a result.”

FC Dallas will also get a boost to their lineup as playmarker Mauro Diaz is
set to return after missing the first leg due to suspension.

“We have 90 minutes and we can score there also,” said FCD head coach Oscar
Pareja. “It is what it is. The series is open. The first 90, and it’s a tie.
We will go to Seattle and trying to do what we can do. This team is not afraid
to play anyone.”