The first leg of the Conference Finals brought about a statement win away from home for the Sounders, and saw the crippled attack of Toronto manage a goalless draw in Columbus. The second leg will be even more exciting as all four teams fight to make it to the MLS Cup Final on December 9th.
Seattle Sounders 2-0 Houston Dynamo
The Sounders managed an important clean sheet at home during their win in the first round of the conference Finals.
Gustav Svensson gave the Sounders an early lead, with a strong header to connect on the end of Nicolas Lodeiro’s corner and score in the eleventh minute. The Dynamo’s Jalil Anibaba received a straight red in the 28th minute after bringing down Sounders forward Joevin Jones. Nicolas Lodeiro took the subsequent penalty, but it was excellently saved by Dynamo keeper Joe Willis. Will Bruin scored the second goal for the Sounders, and the final goal of the night in the 42nd minute with a well-placed header on the end of a perfectly-weighted Joevin Jones lobbed pass.
This gives the Sounders a strong two-goal lead, and leaves the Dynamo without any away-goal advantage going into this second leg. Not only will the Dynamo be forced to play from the back foot at home, but should the Sounders manage a goal, then the Dynamo would have to beat them outright due to the away-goal advantage.
Columbus Crew SC 0-0 Toronto FC
Columbus seemed to have their best foot forward, and statistically they were the better team, but they will have to settle for their important clean-sheet as they look forward to their trip to Toronto where they will have to face the return of Toronto stars Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore.
In the twelfth minute, Toronto’s Victor Vazquez came very close to opening the scoring when his freekick skittered around the outside of the near post. In the 51st minute, Pedro Santos was seemingly brought down by Toronto keeper Alex Bono inside the box, but no penalty was given. In the 73nd minute Crew midfielder Artur made a clever run from near the halfway-line that ended in a curled shot that ultimately steered just wide. Despite more action from both sides, neither side could find the advantage and the scoring ended level.
With the second leg in Toronto, the Crew will be looking to put their strongest foot forward and grab an early lead goal. Toronto’s attack will be significantly strengthened with the return of attackers Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore. If the Crew manage to score, then Toronto to win outright if they are to progress to the MLS Cup Final, whereas any draw that involves scoring will see the Crew progress. A goalless draw will eventually result in a penalty shootout, at which point the winner of the tie might as well be drawn from a lottery.