Aug 12, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Cristian Roldan (7) steals the ball away from FC Dallas defender Marquinhos Pedroso (6) during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders stretched their unbeaten run to eight matches with five consecutive wins following a 2-1 victory over Western Conference-leading FC Dallas Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. A possession-based onslaught and set piece goals from Chad Marshall and Nicolas Lodeiro provided the difference for the Sounders in front of a crowd of 39,522.
“I thought the first 20 to 25 minutes of this game we were really good,” Sounders coach Brain Schmetzer said after the match. “Then there was that 10-minute spell where we gave a couple balls away. It’s MLS, you’re going to have ebbs and flows of momentum. Dallas got on top of us before Chad’s goal and that swung momentum back in our favor.”
Seattle climbed on top in the 41st minute from Marshall’s header off a Lodeiro corner kick, which the centerback flicked to the far post and into the side netting for his second goal of the year.
“Nico serves a good ball,” Marshall said. “It’s about making good runs. We had enough opportunities in the first half. It felt like we had 100 corner kicks, so it would have felt bad if we weren’t able to get on the end of one.”
FC Dallas equalized shortly after halftime. In the 52nd minute, Michael Barrios gave chase to a through ball toward the end line and his crossed deflected off a sliding defender, straight into the chest of Dominique Badji. Badji managed to chest the ball between the legs of Seattle keeper Stefan Frei from close range to score on his FC Dallas debut.
Seattle answered back in the 63rd minute. After Cristian Roldan drew a free kick in the right alley, Lodeiro sent his free kick curling over the scrum in the penalty area, bouncing inside the six-yard box before finding the far side netting.
Dallas attempted a late rally, dominating possession over the final 20 minutes of play, but Schmetzer countered by bringing on centerback Roman Torres and switching to a five-man back line to alleviate the pressure.
The match took a foul turn in stoppage time as Seattle attempted to run out the clock in Dallas’ right corner. During a throw in, Dallas defender Reto Ziegler appeared to swing his arm into the head of Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz, drawing a red card for violent conduct from referee Ted Unkel.
Dallas, frustrated with the scoreline and Ziegler’s dismissal, repeatedly foul Lodeiro and Roldan in the corner, twice flattening Roldan before the midfielder responded by volleying the ball off a Dallas player on a restart to draw a corner kick.
When the final whistle sounded, a scrum developed between equipment personnel and coaching staffs from both teams, before they were separated and FC Dallas left the field without further incident.
Schmetzer downplayed the incident after the match, praising his players for keeping their cool.
“There was a little bit of a narrative with (Dallas) about last year — they were very good — and then in 2016 they were very good when we beat them in the playoffs. They had a big dramatic falling off and I think (Dallas coach Oscar) Pareja’s cognizant of that,” Schmetzer said. “They lost to San Jose so I think he wanted his team to come here prepared to get points. I felt they came out to try and win the game. So credit to him, but credit to our team because even through all of the chaos and all of the tackles and some of the other stuff, I thought our guys kept their composure. Towards the end there, we kept our composure and we were able to close out the game.”
Seattle (9-9-5, 32 points) climbed to within three points of the red line with the victory. FC Dallas (12-5-6, 42 points) retained the top spot in the Western Conference, but Sporting Kansas City’s win over LAFC Saturday allowed them to close within three points of the conference’s prime real estate.