Death, taxes, and seeing the season ended by one of the Cascadia teams.
FC Dallas went to Seattle hoping to make a first Western Conference final in five years – incidentally the only time Dallas knocked Seattle out of the MLS Cup Playoffs – but it was the heavily favored Sounders making their fourth final in five seasons.
“We played well. We moved the ball, we created some chances, and we had a couple of times we could have scored.”Matt Hedges
Seattle named an unchanged lineup from the Sounders’ 3-1 win over Los Angeles FC. Brian Schmetzer had hoped to welcome back first-choice right back Kevin Leerdam from a hamstring injury, but the Dutchman was only fit enough to make the bench.
Luchi Gonalez made one change to the starting XI as Tanner Tessmann came in for Jesus Ferreira in a 4-4-2. FC Dallas was expected to start out positively after the approach in Portland revolved around suppressing the Timbers attack and didn’t disappoint in pressing Seattle high up the field.
FC Dallas had its first good look in the 18th minute through Ryan Hollingshead in a move that started with his regular back-up Johnny Nelson. Nelson played a long ball down the left touchline looking for Franco Jara, who flicked the ball centrally to Andres Ricaurte. The Colombian found Ryan Hollingshead on a crossfield run, but the 29-year-old dragged his shot wide.
The Sounders rang a shot close to Jimmy Maurer’s goal a couple of minutes later from an exchange between Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro, but it was Dallas looking to break forward and pressure the hosts with Andres Ricaurte growing into his makeshift forward role alongside Franco Jara.
Seattle showed a clinical edge against LAFC in getting to the end line and cutting back to the edge of the box. Matt Hedges, Bressan, Andres Picaurte, and Fafa Picault all came up big for Dallas in trying to deny those opportunities in the first half as both keepers went in at the half without making a save.
“We actually started second half on the front foot but then in open space they hurt you. They push us back in a open attack and then we’re conceding a corner and boom, they score”Luchi Gonzalez
Seattle would make its first shot on target count just two minutes into the the second half as Shane O’Neill lost Thiago Santos on a corner to power a header past Maurer. Nico Lodeiro’s corner earned the Uruguayan the record for most consecutive playoff games – his sixth – with an assist.
Dallas looked confident in the first half, but the goal led to a more rushed manner as Seattle began to pull players out of position.
Gonzalez sought to switch things up by bringing in Michael Barrios for Nelson just shy of the hour. Ryan Hollingshead dropped back to his familiar left back role, immediately cutting out the danger of a Jordan Morris cross.
FCD should have had an equalizer shortly after as the post and a last ditch clearance kept the Sounders ahead. Tanner Tessmann, holding the ball up on the left, played a heel flick for Hollingshead on the overlap. Hollingshead sent a looping cross that Michael Barrios rattled the far post from. The rebound fell to Ricaurte only to see Yeimar Gomez able to get a foot behind the shot with Stefan Frei scrambling.
Dallas did have its small share of luck as Bressan appeared to be heading off with a second yellow card for a bad challenge on Lodeiro, but referee Roberto Sibiga opted to pull play back for an earlier foul by Thiago Santos and showed Bressan’s compatriot the card instead.
Luchi went to the bench again, bringing Ricardo Pepi and Santiago Mosquera on for Fafa Picault and Tanner Tessmann. Jesus Ferreira also subbed in for Thiago Santos as Dallas threw players forward in search of a goal in the closing minutes. Dallas wasted time as all too often the defense was presented no option of passing into the midfield as Seattle players handily marked a static Dallas midfield.
“I think we’re going in the right direction. How close? Closer. I think next year, it could be a great opportunity to to actually change the outcome in this this step in the playoffs for FC Dallas”Luchi Gonzalez the team’s progression
Next for the FC Dallas staff comes the decisions on roster options ahead of next weekend’s MLS Cup.