Seattle’s Germany-bound midfielder triggered the attack from his spot in left midfield by combining with Lodeiro, earning a penalty and notching an assist in his team’s 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo.
Seattle maintained a 13.4 percent edge in possession, much of it coming in Houston’s half of the field. That advantage is reflected in Jones’ totals -- he completed 53 passes in the opposing half, good for 265 Audi Player Index points.
His assist -- a pinpoint cross onto the head of Will Bruin for Seattle’s second goal -- accounts for another 238 Audi Player Index points. And finally, an intelligent run behind the defense helped Jones draw a penalty kick (170 points), although Lodeiro failed to convert from the spot.
In all, Seattle’s attack looked as strong as it has all season. The emergence of Nouhou Tolo at left back has allowed Seattle to push Jones up the field, where he can better use his offensive capabilities. He played several quick 1-2s with Lodeiro, who lines up as a right midfielder but often floats into the middle when Seattle is in possession. The duo linked up to earn the corner that became the first goal; later, a Lodeiro through ball led to Jones drawing a penalty.
Seattle holds a 2-0 lead in the series, putting themselves in a good position for next Thursday’s return leg in the Pacific Northwest (10:30 pm ET; ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US | TSN, TVAS in Canada).
In the other Conference Championship match, a cagey affair saw Toronto FC emerge from Ohio with a 0-0 draw. Much of the credit goes to Alex Bono, who saved three Crew SC shots to help his team keep the clean sheet.