Ten games into the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs; there hasn’t been more of an exciting match then the one that took place Monday night at CenturyLink Field between the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas. Playing in front of 38,912 screaming, raucous fans, the Sounders knew they could advance with a 0-0 tie at home.
You could tell from the beginning that Head Coach Sigi Schmid was not looking for a 0-0 tie. Going into the match I honestly thought that maybe Schmid would have the Sounders attack for the first half to see if they could score a goal. If after the first half the Sounders didn’t have a goal, I figured he would start to set his team into a defensive shape and absorb everything that Dallas could throw at them.
I for one am glad I was wrong. The Sounders pressed and attacked for most of the game looking for that extra cushion on the scoreboard. It never came and luckily Dallas was unable to find the back of the net either. Clint Dempsey felt that he should have scored on one of his chances in the game:
"“I had two really good looks at goal,” Dempsey said. “I should have scored at least one of those, so I’m frustrated by that. But I thought we looked good. We didn’t just sit back and try to not concede. We tried to go out and score one or two goals and try to take the game to them.”—mlssoccer.com"
The Sounders showed that they can still play defense and should not be known just for scoring goals. For most of the year, the defense has been a bit of an eye sore for the Sounders and some pundits felt that the team didn’t have what it took.
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Schmid even referenced it in his post-game comments:
"“Being able to defend well is an important part of winning a championship,” Schmid said. “I know during the season the pundits were saying, ‘Do they have a good enough defense to win it?’ I think we’ve proven over the last three or four weeks that we can play good enough defense for sure.”—mlssoccer.com"
I have not been able to go back and watch the game (I was there) but from my view in the stands, it was a very exciting and back and forth match. Both teams had their chances but both came up empty. I will not comment on the possibilities that some say that a penalty could have been called. I need to go back and watch it before I can make that assumption.
The Sounders did suffer an injury that will be a cause for concern. Osvaldo Alonso was subbed off in the 56th minute for what seemed to be a hamstring issue. The team will know more later on Tuesday.
Now that league gets what it wants. The two best teams in the Western Conference are now squaring off for a spot in MLS Cup Final. The Los Angeles Galaxy will be hungry and will want to send Landon Donovan out a champion but the Sounders have something to say about that.