The Sounders needed every minute possible and a hat trick by Jordan Morris in order to take down FC Dallas. With the win, the Sounders will move on to the second round of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Playoff intensity is a phrase used to describe the emotion and passion of postseason play, and nowhere was that more evident than at CenturyLink Field on Saturday afternoon. The two clubs left everything on the field in their first-round matchup, with the difference being Jordan Morris.
We went to halftime with a 2-1 match in favor of the Seattle Sounders. Goals by Raúl Ruidíaz 18′ and Morris 22′ gave Seattle an early 2-0 lead. Reggie Cannon cut the lead in half with his 39th-minute goal.
Many would argue that Dallas was the better team in the second half, and with their +1 goal differential in the second 45, it is also a fact. Matt Hedges scored a header off of a corner kick by Michael Barrios to level the match at 2-2 in the 64th. Morris would put Seattle back out in front 10 minutes later with his second goal, just to have Bryan Acosta level it again in the 82nd. Acosta’s goal would be the final score in regulation, as we headed to extra time even at 3.
This was the first year that the MLS switched to a single-elimination playoff format. In years past they would have a home and away set up, where away goals would be valued higher as an aggregate system. So, if this was last year, FC Dallas would have won this match, but with the changes, we went into extra time. Extra time consists of two 15 minute halves. If neither team was on top after the 30 minutes, we would have headed to a penalty shootout.
Luckily for Seattle, the shootout would not be required on this day.
In an effort that clinched his first career hat trick, Jordan Morris headed in a Ruidíaz shot deflection into the bottom left corner of the Dallas net, putting them ahead in the 113th minute of the game. The hometown hero, who should be the comeback player of the year, barely could hold back his emotions after the winner. Morris, who missed most of 2018 with a Cruciate Ligament Rupture, has arguably been the MVP of this Sounders season.
With the win, the Sounders will move on in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and play the winner of Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers later tonight. The Sounders split their matches with both Salt Lake and Portland in the regular season. That second-round match will be in Seattle on Wednesday the 23rd with a 7:00 pm kickoff time.