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Evans Brace Powers Seattle Sounders Past FC Dallas, Set Up Real Salt Lake Playoff Rematch

By the time things kicked off at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night, the Seattle Sounders were well aware that ownership of the Cascadia Cup had passed to the Portland Timbers. In spite of (or perhaps because of) this knowledge, the Sounders proceeded to take to the pitch and steamroll FC Dallas, ending the playoff hopes of the visiting side and securing their own place in the Western Conference semifinals against Real Salt Lake. Though the game was even going to the half, there was never much doubt as to which side had the better of play. Within fifteen minutes after the second half kickoff, Seattle was back on top and added an insurance goal late on to seal the win.

Despite dominating play and crafting some good chances early on, it took the Sounders over half an hour to get on the board. Fredy Montero won a penalty in the 32nd minute, which was coolly converted by Brad Evans to open the scoring. Blas Perez would equalize in the 40th minute, scoring from a somewhat controversial set piece very much against the run of play to level terms heading into the break. But after a decent spell of play by FC Dallas to start the second half, Seattle would re-take control thanks to Evans once again, who found himself on the end of an excellent bit of build-up play from Christian Tiffert and Fredy Montero before firing past Kevin Hartman from the middle of the box.

The Sounders would continue to push for another and eventually found it, with Mauro Rosales sliding to meet Fredy Montero's low cross on a play created largely by Eddie Johnson. It was the third of three full-team goals, and with the defense showing little weakness against the visitors save some somewhat sloppy marking on the set-piece that lead to the Perez goal, the Sounders look to be clicking with the playoffs right around the corner.

Attentions will now turn to the mid-week CONCACAF Champions League clash against C.D. Marathon, but with a place in the knockout stages guaranteed and the visiting side having little to play for, the Sounders seem likely to start a fairly weak side in that game. The bigger contest is the season-ending trip to the Home Depot Center to take on the LA Galaxy; with the Sounders the only team with something to play for (and the Galaxy facing a mid-week play-in game against the Vancouver Whitecaps) it will be interesting to see how each side approaches the game. It would be little surprise to see the Galaxy field a side without some of their key players, and with second place in the Western Conference on the line, the Sounders are likely to play at least somewhat close to full-strength. But no matter the outcome next weekend, Seattle has avoided the worst case scenario with a win over Dallas. Now comes the more important work of avoiding a repeat of last year's playoff debacle against Real Salt Lake.