Thanks to a sublime Clint Dempsey free kick, the Seattle Sounders travel to Frisco, Texas with a narrow aggregate lead in their MLS Western Conference Semifinal.
The slim margin separating the two sides has been cause for much debate around MLS pundits and fans as to who will ultimately prevail. It certainly looks like it’ll be a close one.
The Conference Semifinal’s first separator in the event of a tie after two legs is the away goals rule. FC Dallas have one and this is potentially crucial.
Heading into the 2nd Leg, Dallas know that just a 1-0 win would be enough to see them through. However, were the Sounders to score, FC Dallas would then require a win by at least two goals.
It reads fairly well for the Sounders, who can also pick up a draw and still progress. Although it might not be that easy. Why? Well, this FC Dallas side has the best home record in the MLS.
Specifically, they boast a 13-2-2 record in Frisco, with a goal difference of +18. Scary stuff.
Maybe that Frisco form was mainly earlier in the season? Incorrect. They have won 9 of their last 10 home games, the only blemish coming in a freak LA Galaxy road win back in the middle of August.
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Six teams of the last ten teams, half of which didn’t even reach the MLS Playoffs, have gone to Frisco and bagged a goal. If the Sounders can repeat this feat then they would leave FC Dallas requiring a minimum of three goals in win without extra-time (2-1 would force ET).
Perhaps most importantly, if the Sounders were to score first they would likely look to drop deeper. The result is that they could deny space in behind for FC Dallas to utilize their main weapon – pace.
Realistically, the Sounders could look to deploy Dallas’ tactic of counter attacking in order to get the job done. With a win already in the bank, an away goal would go a long way to getting the job done in Frisco.