Albert Rusnak scored in the 36th minute and the Seattle Sounders made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over visiting FC Dallas on Friday night to earn a spot in the Western Conference semifinals.
Joao Paulo set up the goal with an interception and assist in Match 3 of the best-of-three series. Seattle protected the lead with a defensive masterpiece, with FC Dallas’ lone shot coming in the 89th minute.
The second-seeded Sounders also had a 7-1 edge in corner kicks with FC Dallas landing their only one in the 88th minute.
Seattle will face third-seeded Los Angeles FC in the semis.
The setback stretched FC Dallas’ MLS winless streak in Seattle to 19 matches. FC Dallas is 0-15-4 since beating the Sounders on May 25, 2011.
Seattle won the opener of the series with a 2-0 home win on Oct. 30. Seventh-seeded FC Dallas evened it with a 3-1 home win last Saturday.
The Sounders had a 16-1 edge in shots in Match 3.
Seattle’s Stefan Frei notched his second shutout of this postseason and 13th of his career. His lone save was on Nkosi Tafari’s late header.
Maarten Paes had three saves for FC Dallas.
Seattle’s goal followed a misplay in his own end by Dallas’ Sebastien Ibeagha.
Paes rolled the ball to his right over to Ibeagha, who kicked the ball toward midfield with none of his teammates near.
The ball went directly to Paulo and he dribbled in before spotting the breaking Rusnak. The pass was on point and Rusnak booted a left-footed shot in which the ball caromed off the right leg of Paes on its way to the net.
Seattle star Jordan Morris had two big chances in back-to-back minutes in the second half.
In the 57th minute, Morris sent a right-footer high and wide of the net.
One minute later, he drilled a left-footed shot that Paes stopped with his right hand.
–Field Level Media