The Seattle Sounders season ended tonight in Friso, Texas, as FC Dallas advanced to the MLS Western Conference finals on penalty kicks.
The first four Dallas players hit their PKs, which was enough to oust the Sounders after 20-year-old goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez stopped shots by Andreas Ivanschitz and Chad Barrett.
The game had played through 83 scoreless minutes before going crazy.
Over the final seven minutes plus stoppage time, Dallas scored what seemed to be the series-clinching goal, Seattle answered with what seemed to be its own series-clinching goal, and in stoppage time, Dallas jumped ahead again.
That 2-1 result at Toyota Stadium evened the Western Conference semifinal series at 3-3 on aggregate. That sent the game on to extra time.
Although the first 83 minutes were scoreless, the did not lack action or ambition. Dallas took the pitch knowing it needed to make up a goal to advance, while the Sounders lived up to their pregame assessment that the best way to slow the Dallas attack would be to occupy them on the other end.
However, both teams shifted between attack and defense effectively, while goalkeepers Stefan Frei and Jesse Gonzalez came up with the saves when needed. Time after time, fuses tensely burn down, but produces only dud after dud – until the 84th minute.
That’s when Dallas’ Tesho Akindele got his head to a Je-Vaughn Watson cross from close range. The home crowd roared as that 1-0 result would have sent the home team through.
However, in the 90th minute, Seattle central defender Chad Marshall answered, heading in a pass from Marco Pappa. That silenced the crowd of 17,287, as a 1-1 result would have sent Seattle through.
About a minute into stoppage time, Walker Zimmerman answered for Dallas. His goal put the Hoops up, 2-1. That score line – the mirror image of Seattle’s opening leg result – was the only one that would send the series on to extra time.
Thirty scoreless minutes later, it went to penalty kicks.