In a tightly contested matchup in the first round of the Audi MLS Cup playoffs, the Seattle Sounders FC emerged victorious with a narrow 1-0 win over FC Dallas at Lumen Field last Friday. This triumph, securing passage to the Western Conference semifinals with a total 2-1 series victory, underscores the team’s resilience and defensive consistency over the years.
The game was described as “super intense” by coach Brian Schmetzer, who spared no praise for FC Dallas coach Nico Estévez for presenting a formidable challenge. The clash witnessed a solid defense from Seattle, highlighted by an impressive streak of 16 games without conceding a goal, including the playoffs.
Midfielder Albert Rusnák, whose decisive goal at the 36th minute sealed the series fate, emphasized the importance of keeping a clean sheet in playoff matches and expressed confidence in the team’s defensive consistency. The significant absences in FC Dallas’ attack due to injuries were notable, but the Sounders maintained their firm stance, limiting the opponent to just one shot on goal.
Now, the next challenge for the Seattle Sounders is facing the current MLS Cup champion, LAFC, in a single-elimination match scheduled for November 25 or 26. Schmetzer and the players expressed respect for LAFC, highlighting the similar offensive quality between the two teams. The elimination of other favored teams, such as Louis CITY SC, creates an opportunity for the Sounders to solidify their position as the remaining top seed with hosting rights for subsequent matches.
With four appearances in the MLS Cup, including two titles, Schmetzer remains optimistic about his team’s prospects in 2023. He points to the characteristic unpredictability of the MLS, recalling the year 2019 when they were surprised in Toronto, as a reminder that playoff destiny is uncertain.
The Sounders now bear not only the weight of expectation but also the confidence gained throughout the season. The journey is not over, and the team has shown that it is ready to face the challenges the MLS Cup playoffs hold. The next chapter will be against LAFC, where determination and defensive cohesion will be crucial to achieving the ultimate goal: lifting the MLS Cup.