The Seattle Sounders extended their current unbeaten run to eight matches — and pulled themselves within three points of the sixth and final Western Conference playoff position — with a 2-1 win over conference leaders FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night.
Seattle controlled the first half, keeping 60 percent possession and getting six shots to Dallas' two, plus 11 corner kicks (a club record for a single half), yet the match stayed scoreless until halftime neared. A 41st minute Nicolas Lodeiro corner kick found Chad Marshall, who headed past Dallas 'keeper Jesse Gonzalez .
FC Dallas made it a whole new match in the 52nd minute, when Dominique Badji, debuting for his new team, chested in a Michael Barrios pass for the equalizer. Less than 10 minutes later, though, Badji had to come off for injury, making way for Pablo Aranguiz to make his Dallas debut after coming over from Chilean club Union Española last month.
The Sounders went back up in the 63rd minute, when Lodeiro's free kick from distance skipped through a maze of red and green jerseys and, remarkably untouched, into goal. Despite an uptick in tempo during the second half, neither team was able to get on the board again, and stoppage time was punctuated most prominently with referee Ted Unkel sending off Dallas defender Reto Ziegler with a straight red card for making contact with Raul Ruidiaz .
- 41' – SEA – Chad Marshall | WATCH
- 52' – DAL – Dominique Badji | WATCH
- 63' – SEA – Nicolas Lodeiro | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Don't look now, but the Sounders are making yet another midseason comeback from the depths of the West — and the solid debut of Bournemouth loanee Brad Smith gives Rave Green fans another reason to believe a third straight MLS Cup appearance could be in the making. For Dallas, this has eerie similarities to the beginnings of last year's epic collapse — though Badji's and Aranguiz's debuts should give the FC Dallas faithful hope rather than a bad case of déjà vu.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Lodeiro's decisive free kick initially looked like a dangerous ball in, and then it became more than that, capping an excellent night for the Uruguayan.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Though Marshall's initial goal helped Seattle get on the front foot, and Osvaldo Alonso was an apt enforcer, Lodeiro was the catalyst for the Sounders' offense.