In a two-legged tie, dropping the opening match 3-0 is almost the equivalent of writing your own death certificate. Teams just don't come back from three-goal deficits. The Seattle Sounders almost did last year, though. Almost.
The Sounders went to Real Salt Lake in the first leg of their conference semifinal and were pasted 3-0, but left for dead, Seattle came back in the second leg at home to score twice and came so close on several occasions to getting the all-importance equalizer. It was not to be, and the Sounders were eliminated, but they have the chance to make amends this year, again against RSL.
This time around, the Sounders get the first leg at home and the chance to get out on the front foot. While last year was a disappointment, it was just another in three years of postseason disappointments, where they have failed to win a single tie or score in the first leg. Might this be the year that they finally break through?
For Salt Lake, it is possibly their last stand. While they did get past Seattle last year, they went out in the next round and after this year's CONCACAF Champions League exit, a failure in this season's playoffs may force to club to tear apart the team and start anew.
Both teams are fighting a rough couple seasons, where they have been good enough to get their hopes up, but have failed when the spotlight got bright. One team will fall short once again, but which one will it be?
Match date/time: Friday, November 2; 10 p.m. ET
Venue: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
TV: NBC Sports Network