There was nothing easy, pretty or fun about the way the Seattle Sounders played on Monday. But it was effective, and now they are going to the Western Conference finals.
The Sounders managed to advance with a 0-0 tie with FC Dallas on Monday, putting them through via the away-goals tiebreaker. They'll open the Western Conference finals at the LA Galaxy on Nov. 23 and close them out at home on Nov. 30. It's just the second time in their six-year history that the Sounders have advanced this far and their treble hopes remain alive.
Getting here was not remotely easy. FC Dallas seemed perfectly happy to defend like crazy and play for a set piece. That worked well enough in the first half, but Oscar Pareja didn't seem to have much of a plan once that became more of a long shot opportunity. Even with Mauro Diaz going the full 90 minutes, the only real chances Dallas created were from Fabian Castillo doing his thing. Aside from one great chance, though, he was mostly bottled up.
The Sounders didn't seem overly concerned with pressing for a goal either, though. While they out shot Dallas 14-9 and forced Chris Seitz into five saves, there was never a point at which the Sounders were throwing numbers forward. Clint Dempsey still managed to get a couple very tantalizing looks at goal, but Seitz came up with saves on both occasions.
If there's one thing that should be troubling to the Sounders, it's that Osvaldo Alonso was forced out of the match in the 56th minute with a hamstring injury. It's unclear if he'll be ready after a two-week break.