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Sounders vs. FC Dallas, recap: Nico Lodeiro does it again

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Sounders get an away goal and hold on for a 4-2 aggregate goal win.

MLS: Playoffs-Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It was not pretty, but the Seattle Sounders did enough to advance to the Western Conference finals for the third time in franchise history.

Nicolas Lodeiro’s third goal in the series was enough for the Sounders to survive a peppy FC Dallas attack. FC Dallas won the game 2-1 and did enough to cause some nervy moments, but the Sounders held on for a 4-2 aggregate-goal win.

The advancement comes with some dark clouds, though, as Jordan Morris came off at halftime with an apparent thigh injury and Nelson Valdez was substituted in the second half after some sort of injury. The good news is that the Sounders will have until Nov. 22 — the date of the first leg against the Colorado Rapids — to get them healthy.

The Sounders came to Dallas for the second leg of the conference semifinals with a 3-0 advantage, thanks to their historic win in Seattle last Sunday. Brian Schmetzer, fresh off the announcement that he’d be keeping the job long term in Seattle, sent out the same starting XI from last week’s match. Roman Torres, who was completely out last week with a hamstring injury, made it to the bench for this match.

The Sounders knew that Dallas would attack from the first minute, but the home side had trouble creating meaningful chances early on. They got into the attacking third fairly often, but they either lost the ball or fired over the bar in their first few times in the area. Seattle tried to be a bit more calculated, though at times it was pretty clear that they were just trying to slow the game down and burn a few minutes off the clock here and there. A deflected shot around the 14th minute was Dallas’ first good chance, but Stefan Frei was equal to it and made the grab. Barely a minute after that save, the Sounders burst down the pitch and got the ball to Valdez, who beat a defender and crossed to Morris, who was just a little too slow to connect with it. Dallas had another great opportunity as poor Seattle defensive work allowed Atiba Harris to go 1v1 with Frei at close range, but the goalkeeper was equal to his opponent’s weak shot. FC Dallas finally found the opener they had been pressing for in the 25th minute when Tesho Akindele headed a cross in past Frei. The Sounders then had a few close chances after the goal, but none of any particular substance. Dallas almost broke through again with a shot at a tight angle by Barrios that whipped across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. Seattle came very close again in the 36th minute when Nico Lodeiro’s free kick was tipped onto the post by Chris Seitz and out of play. Dallas had a dangerous free kick of their own near the end of the half, but it turned into nothing but a wayward followup shot that flew off into the mound of dirt* behind the goal.

*Future Home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum

Just minutes into the half, the Sounders managed to get forward thanks to some great work by Tyrone Mears on the right flank, and his subsequent cross was met by a flying kick from Lodeiro and into the back of the net. The Sounders had barely finished celebrating when Dallas pushed back down the pitch; a deep cross found Rosales open near the far post, and his first-time header flashed back across the dumbstruck Sounders defense and to an unmarked Urruti, who left no doubt and fired a bullet header into the net.

On the same play, Valdez was also forced off due to injury, and the Sounders brought Herculez Gomez on in his place. Dallas almost found a break just under 80 minutes when Stefan Frei bundled a save (though he did look to be impeded) that was eventually kicked into the box by Dallas, but the home side couldn’t manage to finish it despite a couple of weak attempts. Dallas pushed and pushed in the final minutes, including a dangerous free kick that didn’t turn into much.