FRISCO, Tex. -- There was much to enjoy for the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, who despite losing 2-1 on the night, advanced in the Western Conference semifinals past FC Dallas on a 4-2 aggregate score in the series.
But there was also cause for concern, with star rookie Jordan Morris exiting the game at halftime due to injury.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer gave an initial diagnosis to reporters following the game.
"It is a hamstring strain," he said. "That is all I can say because we have to get him evaluated. It was a last-minute decision by our trainers upon examination at halftime."
Ahead of Sunday's game Morris was called up to the US national team for two World Cup qualifiers, including next week's showdown against Mexico. Schmetzer did not want to speculate whether his young star would be available for the big game.
“That is not of my control,” he said. “What is obviously the most important thing is the health of the players. I don’t think that with the games the national team has coming up they will want to take an injured player, but it is early and he will be evaluated by our staff and the United States training staff as well.”
Schmetzer knew that FC Dallas was going to go all out to try and erase the three-goal deficit and tasked his team with one thing during the first forty-five minutes.
“We did not have much flow early on and it was pretty much one-way traffic,” he said. “We were under the gun early and give credit to Oscar [Pareja, FC Dallas head coach] for his gameplan. We were able to withstand the pressure that Dallas put on us...I think that is what helped us persevere against a team that was going all out trying to press to get back into this series.”
Schmetzer spoke with his team at halftime about getting up the field and creating chances on an FC Dallas team that sent nearly everybody forward to try and get goals. And it worked, with Nicolas Lodeiro's second-half tally effectively ending the series despite Dallas' win on the night.
“I told the team we need to play a little better in the attacking half of the field,” he said. “We needed to connect on our passes better because we were not going to be able to withstand another 45-minute onslaught from Dallas.”
Happy that his team is advancing, Schmetzer said he will let them celebrate the series win against Dallas before focusing their attention to a big home match with Colorado in the Western Conference Championship on Nov. 22.
“We like to live in the moment,” he said. “Colorado is a really good team, but tonight we want to just enjoy this moment."