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Seattle Sounders lose 2-1 to FC Dallas, but do enough to keep first leg lead, advance in MLS playoffs

The Sounders will take on the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference finals.

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

After last week's incredible 3-0 win for the Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas was always going to have a difficult time staging a comeback in their playoff series. They put in a solid effort on Sunday, scoring twice in a win, but they fell short of the comeback. Nicolas Lodeiro all but sealed the aggregate victory for Seattle, which they clamed 4-2, with Dallas winning 2-1 on the night.

Seattle had multiple big chances to put the game away early, but couldn't convert in the first half. Jordan Morris should have scored on an open net in the 16th minute, but struggled to adjust after Nelson Valdez's cross to him was deflected. That looked like it might come back to bite Seattle when Tesho Akindele pulled Dallas back into the tie with a 25th minute goal on a corner.

Lodeiro just about sealed the series for Seattle in the 36th minute with an incredible free kick that had Chris Seitz beaten, but he unluckily hit the post. With Seattle failing to score in the first half, their fans had every reason to be nervous, and things got a bit worse when Jordan Morris had to come off at halftime due to a thigh injury.

But they didn't have to sweat long. In the 54th minute, Tyrone Mears picked the ball off the feet of Walker Zimmerman, surged past him, then squared for Lodeiro to finish.

Dallas pulled a goal back two minutes later through Maxi Urruti, but it was irrelevant at that point. Once Seattle had their away goal, there was no way back for FCD. They pushed forward in the final half-hour, but couldn't get on the scoreboard a third time.

FC Dallas: Chris Seitz; Maynor Figueroa, Walker Zimmerman (Carlos Ruiz 62'), Matt Hedges, Atiba Harris, Carlos Gruezo, Kellyn Acosta, Tesho Akindele, Mauro Rosales (Carlos Lizarazo 74'), Michael Barrios (Ryan Hollingshead 75'), Maxi Urruti

Goals: Akindele (25'), Urruti (56')

Seattle Sounders: Stefan Frei; Joevin Jones, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Tyrone Mears, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Brad Evans 77'), Christian Roldan, Jordan Morris (Oneil Fisher 46'), Nelson Valdez (Herculez Gomez 58'), Nicolas Lodeiro

Goals: Lodeiro (54')

Three things

Yikes, Walker Zimmerman -- In the first leg in Seattle, Zimmerman was not put in a position to succeed. He was asked to play as a right central defender in a back three, a position he hasn't played before in competitive matches, and was made to look bad on all three Seattle goals. He was put back into a more familiar position in a back four on Sunday, but wasn't any better. He made multiple mental errors, including one for the Seattle goal. He's a very good young player who had an excellent season for Dallas, so it was stunning to see him struggle so much. And when Dallas needed to push more players forward in desperation, he was correctly subbed off.

It was hard to watch such a good player have such a nightmare series. Hopefully this was just an anomoly.

Seattle needs Jordan Morris to be healthy -- With Clint Dempsey out for the season and Andreas Ivanschitz struggling for fitness, the Sounders don't have any depth in their forward positions. And even if those players were healthy, neither has Morris' athleticism. If Morris isn't fit to face the Colorado Rapids, the Sounders are going to suffer from a serious lack of pace and direct running up top.

Job done for the Sounders -- Was this an excellent performance from the Sounders? No, but it was the type of professional job they've previously been incapable of in the playoffs.

They made the most of their home field advantage in Seattle and did well enough in the second leg to advance. The result wasn't ever in serious doubt.