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November 10, 2014 at 10:15 AM

What to watch for: Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas, second leg of the Western Conference semifinals

There is but one conference final spot still up in the air as the Sounders and F.C. Dallas face off on Monday night at CenturyLink Field for the right to face the L.A. Galaxy in the Western Conference title round.

Last time out: Sounders 1, Dallas 1 last Sunday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas — Osvaldo Alonso’s headed goal cancelled out Michel’s first-half penalty kick as Seattle picked up a vital away goal. (To read a breakdown of all the potential extra-time and tiebreaker scenarios tonight, click here.)

Battle to watch: Seattle forwards vs. F.C. Dallas center backs

Seattle attacker Obafemi Martins was quick to praise the performance of Dallas defenders Zach Loyd and Matt Hedges in the wake of last weekend’s draw.

The record-setting Martins-Clint Dempsey strike pairing was held scoreless. And though it did carve for a few good chances on goal, and the Sounders need a second-half set piece to knot the score.

Loyd and Hedges played off each other well, understanding when to step in and when to stay disciplined. They reminded Sounders coach Sigi Schmid of another Western Conference back line — one currently waiting on the next line of the bracket.

“Loyd’s a little bit quicker. It’s a little bit like (L.A.’s A.J.) DeLaGarza and Omar, (Gonzalez),” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “You’ve got a taller, central defender whose better in the air and another whose quicker and smaller. I just think they played with really good concentration and focus.”

Player to watch: Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz

The FCD playmaker will likely return to the Dallas lineup after missing the first leg via a one-match suspension, and where he slots in will have ripple effects on the rest of the FCD attack.

“Either they take out some size in (Tesho) Akindele or some speed in (Andres) Escobar,” Schmid said. “It alters their team a little bit.”

Diaz could also, though, provide the composure in the final third that Dallas was lacking last Sunday.

How to watch: The match will be televised live on NBC Sports Network, with the broadcast set to go live at 7:30 p.m.

 

| More in MLS, Preview and prediction, Sounders FC

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