The Seattle Sounders welcomed Supporter's Shield winners FC Dallas to CenturyLink Field for the first leg of the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semi-Final on Sunday night.
Early chances foreshadow goals
FC Dallas were quick out of the gates early on despite being away from home but it would be the Seattle Sounders with the first real opportunity of the match in the 4th minute when Jordan Morris' cross found the feet of Nelson Valdez, whose shot was palmed off the line heroically by Chris Seitz to keep the sides level.
Not to be out done, FC Dallas soon found themselves on the attack when Maxi Urruti found Victor Ulloa on the edge of the box but Ulloa's blast from distance went comically wide as he tripped part way through the shot.
Seattle fullbacks threaten
Joevin Jones and Erik Freiberg would each have a shot in quick succession 12 minutes in, with Jones shot painfully ricocheting off of Jordan Morris before Seitz grabbed hold of Freiberg's shot.
Maynor Figueroa would then try his luck from some 30 meters out in the 20th minute but Urruti couldn't get to the rebound in time despite Stefan Frei spilling it.
Jones would again be the danger man for Seattle in the 24th minute when he beat Ryan Hollingshead on the dribble but his cross sailed over the bar and out to the relief of Chris Seitz.
Seattle continued to push forward in the 26th when they earned a corner, Nicholas Lodeiro's service proved excellent forcing Seitz into an awkward save before Walker Zimmerman saved Dallas in the 27th, kicking Freiberg's shot off the line after the follow-up corner.
Seattle cement their dominance
Dallas responded as Urruti found Hollingshead who beat two defenders and aimed for goal but his shot was palmed away by Sebastian Frei in the 29th.
Jordan Morris did brilliantly to beat both Walker Zimmerman and Figueroa on the dribble in the 37th minute before ripping a shot at Seitz who dove to his left and palmed Morris' shot away to safety.
The waves of Seattle attacks restarted in the 41st with the fullbacks and attackers pushing forward before Lodeiro's shot was saved once again by Seitz.
Michael Barrios sparked a Dallas counter attack right before half time, dribbling past several Seattle defenders before laying the ball off to Hollingshead but the midfielder turned defender leaned into his shot, skying it well above of the bar.
Seattle strike early and often
The second half began frantically with possession changing hands frequently in the first five minutes of play, but neither team could actually carve out a shot on goal until Seattle took the lead in the 50th minute in stunning fashion when Tyron Mears' looping cross found the head of the rising Nelson Valdez who smashed home the ball to beat a rising Maynor Figueroa and Chris Seitz who found himself stranded outside off of his line.
Seattle completed the swift one-two in the 54th minute, Joevin Jones' through ball found Jordan Morris who beat several defenders and played a simple ball across the box for Nicolas Lodeiro to tap in for the 2-0 lead.
Seattle pile on the pressure
Dallas tried to respond moments later when Carlos Gruezo played Urruti into the box but Stefan Frei came to the rescue before rolling out the ball to Joevin Jones. Dallas would rue their missed chances seconds later when Jones sprung Lodeiro on the counter, who slotted in behind an out of position Dallas defense to slot home a third goal for Seattle in the 57th minute.
Jordan Morris nearly made it four in the 60th minute when a ball over the top from Friberg played him in on goal but Chris Seitz was off his line with perfect timing as he collided with Morris and claimed the ball before Morris could get a shot off.
Dallas nearly pulled one back off of a corner in the 65th when Kellyn Acosta found the head of Walker Zimmerman but Zimmerman's header was saved by the spectacularly jumping Frei to keep Dallas off of the score sheet.
The sense of desperation became ever more evident from FC Dallas in the 74th minute when Kellyn Acosta tried a speculative shot from distance that went high and wide, summing up Dallas' attacking efforts in the second half.
Down but not out
Not for lack of trying, Dallas' offensive efforts a were reduced to shots from distance and speculative crosses into the box with Seattle putting nine men behind the ball, but Carlos Ruiz nearly made an instant impact, driving through the Seattle defense and shooting straight at Stefan Frei in the 80th minute.
Seattle would earn a free kick in the 85th minute when Figueroa cynically hacked down Jordan Morris on the edge or the box but Lodeiro's effort was lackluster as the Seattle offense petered out with just minutes to go in the match.
Minutes later the final whistle blew, confirming Seattle's commanding lead going into the second leg on November 6th.