Sixth-seed FC Dallas (9-6-7, 34 points) visits second-seed Seattle Sounders (11-5-6, 39 points) in the Western Conference Semifinals on Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 8:30 pm CT at Lumen Field in Seattle.
This is the first meeting between the two teams this year.
Gameday Social: #SEAvFCD
TV: 8:30PM on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes
Streaming: 8:30PM on FOX Sports GO app and at FOXSportsGO.com.
Radio: 8:00PM CT on FCDallas.com/Radio (English) and TUDN 1270AM (Spanish)
Pregame Show: 8:00PM CT on FCDallas.com/Stream
On the conference call this week, Coach Luchi Gonzalez said Bryan Acosta re-aggravated his injury and it would be very, very difficult for him to be involved and sure enough he’s listed as OUT along with Paxton Pomykal.
When you win a road playoff game – and honestly the end of season road results have all pointed the same way – you don’t change very much. I only have one personnel change and one position swap in my prediction from the Timbers win.
Somewhere about 30 minutes into the last game, Fafa Picault and Ryan Hollingshead swapped wings. Both Luchi and Ryan talked afterward about balance there. Johnny Nelson at left back staying tight to Bressan thus needing a wide wing to run the wide line and Bryan Reynolds being an aggressive end-to-end runner the right wing needs to frequently tuck inside almost like an extra 10. So that mid-game Picault/Hollingshead wing swap should continue in Seattle.
And that wing talk has led me to think FCD needs a linking-8 with a more defensive mindset that has the range to cover up Reynolds or help out Nelson… which leads me to believe Tanner Tessmann will start at the linking 8 with Andres Ricaurte as the “attacking-8.” This will be a double-8 setup.
Side note: I’ve decided I like the term “attacking-8” for the player that used to be a 10 in a 4-3-3. The one we sometimes call “free-8.” I like “attacking-8” better.
So here’s my prediction graphically:
If Acosta had been healthy I would have bet money it would have been Acosta in as the linking-8 instead of Tanner. Cause Luchi.
I considered Dante Sealy as the final bench player, but what are the chances he would get in with Ferreira, Pepi, Mosquera, and Twumasi on the bench?
So I put in Montgomery instead of the other option, Eddie Munjoma. Ziegler can emergency left back so Montgomery gives Luchi cover if he needs three CBs if Ziegler had to go in at left back.
I would still travel Sealy as the emergency travel person. Let him have a taste of the playoff road life.
On with the show…
More Game Info, Stats, and Bits
Last year, Dallas and Seattle met in the first round with FCD coming back from 2-0 down to force extra time. The Sounders won 4-3 and went on to win their second MLS Cup. This will be the 5th playoff meeting between the two in the last 6 years. Seattle has won all but one of the meetings/series, the famous Walker Zimmerman game in 2015.
In addition to making the game-winning penalty stop against the Timbers, Jimmy “Allstate” Maurer made 7 saves over the 120 minutes which tied him for third-most saves in franchise history during a playoff game. Mark Dodd holds the record with 12 saves in a 1996 playoff game.
Against Portland, FC Dallas became the first team in MLS Cup Playoffs history to convert eight attempts during a penalty kick shootout. The previous record was 7, set twice (KC, 2013 MLS Cup; POR, 2015 Knockout Round).
Sounders FC 12 wins, 42 goals
FC Dallas 7 wins, 28 goals
Sounders FC 9 wins, 29 goals
FC Dallas 1 win, 8 goals
The defending champion Seattle Sounders finished in second place in the Western Conference with 39 points and an 11-5-6 record. The Sounders finished the regular season with just 1 loss in its final 6 outings. Seattle was also the third-highest scoring team and registered the best defensive record in the Western Conference during the regular season.
OUT: Danny Leyva (M) – right quad strain
OUT: Gustav Svensson (M) – undisclosed injury
Suspended after next caution: Nicolas Lodeiro (M)
International duty: None
OUT: Paxton Pomykal (M) – hip injury
OUT: Bryan Acosta (M) – undisclosed injury
Suspended after next caution: Fafa Picault (M), Andres Ricuarte (M), Ema Twumasi (M)
Innternational duty: None
REFEREE: Robert Sibiga.
AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson;
AR2 (opposite): Jeremy Kieso;
4th: Fotis Bazakos;
VAR: David Gantar;
AVAR: Cameron Blanchard
Sibiga MLS Career:
Sibiga MLS Cup Playoffs:
Season Goal Leaders
|Raúl Ruidíaz||12||Franco Jara||8|
|Jordan Morris||10||Ricardo Pepi||4|
|Nicolás Lodeiro||7||Santiago Mosquera||4|
|Kevin Leerdam||3||Ryan Hollingshead||4|
|4 Tied||2||Fafa Picault||3|
|107||Shots on Target||109|
The three Sounders FC players named to the 2020 MLS Best XI – Raúl Ruidíaz, Nicolás Lodeiro, and Jordan Morris – all netted a goal and added at least one assist in the match (Ruidiáz with two assists) in the Sounders first-round win over LAFC.
The Sounders are undefeated in the last nine league meetings between the teams in Seattle and have won 10 of the 13 meetings there all-time. The only FCD win at CenturyLink Field came in 2011, a 1-0 victory on May 25.
Over the past five seasons, Sounders FC has outscored FC Dallas 14-1 in four regular-season meetings at CenturyLink Field. The FCD goal there last year ended a 460-minute goalless string over all competitions in Seattle.
Raúl Ruidíaz scored his eighth goal in seven career appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs last game. He has scored in three consecutive playoff games and has a goal in six of his seven career postseason matches.
Youngest Player to Score a MLS Cup Playoff Goal
|Jozy Altidore||16 years, 357 days||10/29/2006 NY at DC|
|Caden Clark||17 years, 178 days||11/21/2020 NYR at CLB|
|Ricardo Pepi||17 years, 317 days||11/22/2020 FCD at POR|
|Gianluca Busio||18 years, 178 days||11/22/2020 KC vs SJ|
|DaMarcus Beasley||19 years, 146 days||10/17/2001 CHI vs LA|
|Anatole Abang||19 years, 146 days||11/29/2015 NYR vs CLB|
Most Combined Homegrowns in a MLS Cup Playoff Game
|Game||Home Team HGs||Road Team HGs|
|11/22/2020 KC vs SJ||KC 3||SJ 4|
|10/19/2019 DAL at SEA||SEA 1||FCD 6|
G: 12 Ruidiaz
A: 10 Lodeiro
SHT: 55 Ruidiaz
SOG: 23 Ruidiaz
FC: 28 Paulo
FS: 54 Lodeiro
OF: 13 Morris/Ruidiaz
C: 5 Andrade/Paulo
G: 7 Jara
A: 5 Barrios
SHT: 37 Jara
SOG: 20 Jara
FC: 41 Thiago Santos
FS: 47 Thiago Santos
OF: 11 Jara
C: 8 Thiago Santos
E: 1 Acosta
CURRENT SOUNDERS FC GOALS
VS. FC DALLAS
Will Bruin – 4 goals
Nicolas Lodeiro – 2
Miguel Ibarra – 1
Joevin Jones – 1
Jordan Morris – 1
Cristian Roldan – 1
Raul Ruidiaz – 1
CURRENT FC DALLAS GOALS
VS. SOUNDERS FC
Michael Barrios – 1
Matt Hedges – 1
Fafa Picault – 1
This is the 12th consecutive year the Sounders have made the postseason, the longest streak in league history and the second-longest active run in professional sports, behind the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL who have made the playoffs in 14 seasons.
With its victory last Tuesday against LAFC, Sounders FC won for the 13th consecutive home match in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs at Lumen Field. That win broke the tie for the longest in MLS history with D.C. United, who won the first 12 home playoff games in the club’s history at RFK Stadium, covering the entirety of the first four postseasons in league history (1996-1999).
Most Trophies Since 2009
|Toronto FC +||1||1||–||2|
Defender Matt Hedges currently leads the team with the most FC Dallas postseason appearances (12).
Bryan Reynolds became the youngest to complete a postseason match for FC Dallas at 19 years, 147 days old.
Since 1996, FC Dallas has a .402 winning percentage and 14-23-9 record for games played in the postseason.
FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez was the fifth FC Dallas coach to reach the playoffs in his first season in charge (Oscar Pareja 2014, Steve Morrow 2007, Mike Jeffries 2001, Dave Dir 1996) last season.
Jimmy Maurer finished the regular season leading the league with an 0.84 goals-against-average (GAA). Maurer also ranked first among goalkeepers with more than 10 appearances with a 79.4 saves percentage, saving 54 out of 68 shots faced, and recorded seven shutouts this season (tied for third in the league).
Seattle’s Stefan Frei finished sixth in the league with a 1.05 GAA, tied for third in the league with 11 wins and ranked eighth in the league with 60 saves.
FC Dallas (9-5-7) had a 0.900 winning percentage (8-0-2 record) when scoring the first goal of the match and an 0.188 winning percentage (1-6-1 record) when conceding the first goal in 2020.
FC Dallas ended the 2020 regular season fifth in the league (second in the Western Conference) with 24 goals conceded (1.09 GAA).
The Sounders were fourth in the league with 23 goals conceded (1.05 GAA) in 22 matches.
Both FC Dallas and Seattle conceded 16 goals in the second half. FC Dallas allowed just eight goals in the first half, the least amount among teams traveling in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
FC Dallas’ Thiago Santos led the league in duels won (190).
This regular season, FC Dallas finished 17th in the league with 28 goals in 22 matches while Seattle tied for third with 44 goals scored in 22 matches, including 30 goals at home.
Seattle led the league with 12 goals scored in the first 15 minutes of the second half and scored the most goals in the second half (28).
Ryan Hollingshead and Raul Ruidíaz tied for second in the league with four game-winning goals, while Franco Jara tied for seventh in the league along with 13 other players with three game-winning goals.
Seattle’s Nicolás Lodeiro led the league with six Game-Winning-Assists. Lodeiro also led the league in assists (10).
FC Dallas had a 5-3-0 record and 0.625 winning percentage in games decided by one goal, while the Sounders had a 2-3-0 record (.400 winning percentage).
Since 2015, FCD is 72-5-17 when scoring first.
Since 2015, FC Dallas has a 0.898 winning percentage and 73-3-12 when scoring at least two goals.
When Michael Barrios scores or assists, FC Dallas is 39-9-10 in regular-season league games. FC Dallas is 19-3-4 when Barrios scores.
Jason Kreis — 65
Oscar Pareja — 47
Michael Barrios — 44
Mauro Díaz — 44
Mauro Diaz — 10
Kenny Cooper — 9
Reto Ziegler — 8
Jorge Rodriguez — 7