After the craziness that was the knockout round of the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, the conference semifinals have been set with one of the more intriguing matchups getting underway Sunday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle between the fourth seeded Seattle Sounders and top seeded FC Dallas in the Western Conference.
The Sounders come into this series after getting some help from Sporting Kansas City on Decision Day, as they were able to beat the LA Galaxy and give the Sounders a home match against that same Galaxy team.
Seattle played a back and forth match against the Galaxy in front of 39,537 screaming fans and finally pulled out a 3-2 victory after Erik Friberg's goal in the 73rd minute gave the Sounders the win and sent them on to the next round while sending the defending MLS Cup Champions back home.
FC Dallas on the other hand, comes in fresh off of a 2-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes on Decision Day which came while they were still vying for the Supporters' Shield, but couldn't quite get what they needed as the New York Red Bulls ultimately claimed the trophy. Nonetheless, FC Dallas is a force to be reckoned with as they finished the regular season level with New York on points, wins, and PPG and won the Western Conference outright by seven points.
They are a well rested team with their last game coming Sunday at home, so they should be fresh and ready to go when they head up to Seattle for Leg 1 of their semifinal matchup with the Sounders.
These two sides have met twice this season, both coming pretty early in the year. The first match was played in Frisco, Texas where they played to a 0-0 draw back on March 28. They met once again in Seattle on June 13 where the Sounders had their way with Dallas beating them 3-0 behind goals from Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins, and Leo Gonzalez.
FC Dallas is led by their two attacking players in Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz. Diaz currently leads the team in assists with 10 while Castillo is right behind him with nine. In the goals category, Castillo leads the team with nine while Diaz has netted eight. These are two key players to look out for in this playoff matchup.
The Seattle Sounders, on the other hand, are a dangerous team right now as they battled injuries all year long and still managed to make the playoffs. Obviously, you have to look up top where the dynamic duo of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins catalyze the Sounders attack and can put the ball in the back of the net. Martins currently leads the team with 15 goals. Dempsey leads the team in assists with 10 to go along with 10 goals.
Leg 1 of this two leg aggregate playoff matchup will get underway Sunday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle at 9:30 p.m. EST and will be televised nationally on FS1. Leg 2 will be on November 8 in Frisco, Texas with time still TBD.