Lodeiro scores twice, Sounders top FC Dallas 3-0 in Game 1
Oct 31 2016 by Marjorie Miles
Excuse the cliche, but the Seattle Sounders could hardly be faulted if they were just happy to be here.
The result puts Seattle on the front foot to advance to the Western Conference finals after the away leg of the match-up plays out November 6 (6 p.m., FS1) in Frisco, TX.
In the opening minutes Jordan Morris played a ball in across the goal where Nelson Valdez got a header on it that forced Chris Seitz to make a goal line save to keep the score level. With two playoff goals in a week and one previous year, Valdez is tied for Seattle's all-time postseason goals record (along with Clint Dempsey, Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson).
Readers, is there any way FC Dallas recovers?
Seattle won in 2014 via the away-goals tiebreaker - which is still in effect, should the score stay level through next Sunday's second leg in Frisco - and Dallas triumphed a year ago on penalties. Morris combined with or created space for Jones up the flank, allowing the Trinidadian full-back several opportunities to hit crosses.
Just three minutes later, Lodeiro took a through ball from Jones, streaked down the left side, and, from the top left corner of the 6, fired to the far corner.
Wounded, Dallas still presents a significant threat.
Lodeiro, the man largely credited with helping the Sounders turn their moribund season around when he arrived in July, made no mistake and doubled the Seattle lead.
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Valdez, whose 88th-minute goal beat Sporting Kansas City, put Seattle on the board in the 50th minute.
Seattle's unlikely postseason campaign almost didn't happen and then received a helping hand from an official just to reach this point, but this was a comprehensive win over the top-ranked team in the league just a few days after playing 90 draining minutes, both physically and emotionally.
Yellow cards picked up in the knockout round carry over, meaning Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso will miss Leg 2 should he get carded tonight.
The 30-year old Cuban continues to be so steady in his deep-lying central midfield position, breaking up attacks and pushing turnovers into forward possession that he's very easy to take for granted. In only 78 minutes.
The series isn't over. The Earthquakes were famously down 4-0 on aggregate to Los Angeles after 15 minutes of their second leg, before coming back to win 5-4 in extra time.
Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy also posted first-leg playoff wins as all four home teams triumphed on Sunday.
"It was a typical first-leg game in a two-leg series two teams feeling each other out in the first half", Schmetzer said.
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