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Seattle Sounders edge FC Dallas 4-3 in MLS Cup playoff classic

FC Dallas rallied from a two-goal deficit to equalize, but Jordan Morris’ hat trick lifted Seattle in the seven-goal thriller

After 120 minutes, the Seattle Sounders defeated FC Dallas 4-3 in an MLS playoff classic that saw multiple comebacks at CenturyLink Field Saturday.

Many pundits had marked this as one of the more lopsided matches in the first round, but it proved to be one of the most intense matches, as Dallas eyed an upset over Seattle. 

“We don’t care about the environment,” Reggie Cannon said. “We don’t care, 30,000 fans, whatever. It doesn’t matter to us, we are going to play our football. That showed today because this team of capable of so much and you saw a little bit of that today. There was no fear from us, there was no hesitation. We just went out there and played football and had each other’s back and unfortunately, it just didn’t bounce our way. I’m really proud of the way Luchi [Gonzalez] stepped into the coaching position this year. He has really pushed this team to be the best that it could be. I’m still disappointed. Seattle is a good team and I wish them the best.”

Jordan Morris was the hero, notching a hat trick, including the game-winner in the second half of extra time. After a loose ball in the box, Morris got a head on the ball, looping into the net, sending the Seattle fans into elation and advancing the Sounders to the conference semifinals for the 11th season in a row. 

“Yeah, it’s just good to be back playing in a playoff game,” Morris said. “I was out the majority of 2017 and all of 2018 so to be back for this game is special.”

The Sounders jumped out to an early lead through Raul Ruidiaz. Struggling to break down the defense, Ruidiaz received a pass from midfielder Cristian Roldan and unleashed a shot from 25 yards out, beating Jesse Gonzalez to open up the scoring in the 18th minute. 

Seattle added one more four minutes later after Ruidiaz won a header over Reto Ziegler. Ziegler’s committing to Ruidiaz opened up space for Morris, who was able to slot the ball past Gonzalez to give Seattle a 2-0 lead.

After teetering on the edge of a blowout, Dallas weathered the storm and pulled a goal back right before the half. After a ball from winger Michael Barrios hit Seattle defender Kim Kee-Hee, Cannon pounced on the rebound and slotted the shot in the 39th minute.

Oct 19, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC fans sing during a march to the match before a game against FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas leveled when centerback Matt Hedges latched onto a Michael Barrios corner kick in the 64th minute and headed in the equalizer.

“It’s hard to be down 2-0 in this type of environment where they could’ve pushed and maybe got a third goal, but I still liked the ideas our boys showed before we were even down one or 2-0,” Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez. “We had faith and belief that we were going to score. Yes, that was an important goal before the half to just reaffirm that ‘Hey, we’re playing a good game here. We’re competing well and let’s take it up a notch. Let’s actually play the second half the way we finished the first half.’ And I thought we executed that.”

Morris was not done. On a corner, after a mad scramble for the ball, Morris found himself on the ground, with the ball, and was able to direct the ball into the net to give Seattle the lead once again 10 minutes later. 

Bryan Acosta leveled again in the 82nd minute, but Morris completed his hat trick in extra time to close out the epic showdown.

“I mean, I had the faith in the guys on the bench,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said “I mean we were starting to think about penalties and stuff like that, but that was my choice. And certainly, guys have heavy legs and you think that you can bring a fresh guy on, that’s why it’s a team sport. But at the end of the day, I was going to pull Jordan earlier, and I didn’t pull Jordan, and what does he do? He scores the winner, so you know again it’s that little bit of balance of when you take off your best players and bring fresh players on, you know sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.”

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