The bad news has been covered: Sounders FC has struggled mightily in first legs of two-game series, a trend that continued with a 2-1 home loss Saturday to kick off a conference semifinal against rival Portland.
The good news? Seattle has been quite impressive in its last few second legs, boasting wins in three straight such games in the MLS playoffs.
Granted, two of those wins resulted in series eliminations, but the quality of those performances is hard to argue as they nearly resulted in comebacks from 3-0 deficits.
The Sounders outshot Real Salt Lake, 26-4, in the second leg in 2011, and things might have been different were it not for a Tony Beltran clearance near the goal line. Last year, Seattle was all over the Galaxy and even had what looked to be a fair goal called off.
The history helps fuel the hope that this comeback can be done.
“We’ve talked that we have won all three seconds legs in the last three series, whether it was home or away,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “We just need to go there and win. We need to put ourselves in a position (to win), and that means we need to play good in the back and not give anything up. We get that goal, and then I think that puts a lot of pressure on them. I think we’re in a good position.
“We’re in the same position as Kansas City; I know they’re coming home. Same position New York and Houston — they both have to win in their game. It’s the same thing. Salt Lake feels the same way. Everybody’s in the same position, and although Portland and our fields are probably two of the better home-field advantages in terms of crowd and so forth, we’re a team that’s used to playing in front of a big crowd there and used to playing in front of a boisterous crowd. I don’t think at the end of the day that’s going to affect it very much.”
Schmid then added to followup question: “Nothing better than to quiet a big crowd.”
Here is a look at Seattle’s second-leg performances in the MLS playoffs:
|2009||Conf. semifinals||Houston||L 1-0||L 1-0|
|2010||Conf. semifinals||Los Angeles||L 2-1||L 3-1|
|2011||Conf. semifinals||Real Salt Lake||W 2-0||L 3-2|
|2012||Conf. semifinals||Real Salt Lake||W 1-0||W 1-0|
|2012||Conf. finals||Los Angeles||W 2-1||L 4-2|