With series win, Sounders face a big obstacle: the LA Galaxy

A scoreless tie was enough to give Seattle a shot at LA and an historic championship in early December.
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Sounder Obafemi Martins controls the ball on a play with teammate Clint Dempsey.

A scoreless tie was enough to give Seattle a shot at LA and an historic championship in early December.

Since the MLS version of playoffs can mean a team doesn't have to score in a game to win, it's a shame the league has no category for style points. Monday night at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders were all Astaire and Rogers, Torvill and Dean, and Clooney and Roberts floating in space.

None of the smoothness counted for a goal, but that's how soccer works sometimes. At least there was no punishment for grace under fire.

The Sounders moved on to the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Galaxy after a 0-0 draw with FC Dallas. The tie matched the 1-1 draw a week ago in Dallas in the two-game, aggregated-goal series. But because MLS for the first time made a tiebreaker out of road goals, the Sounders' week-old score provided the edge and the permission for 38,912 on hand to party like it was, well, 43-8.

The objects of marvel were primarily the Sounders' world-class forward tandem of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, who repeatedly showed up on the doorstep of Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz with all manner of bipedal wizardry, only to be stoned either by Seitz or the soccer gods who were in a particularly droll mood.

"I'm happy with the result, happy to go through," said Dempsey. "I had two really good looks at a goal. I should have scored at least one of those. I'm frustrated about that."

The frustration extended to the sellout crowd, most of whom showed up assuming the best, but the fruitless dithering increased chances that one defensive mistake or random ricochet would provide the worst — a 1-0 loss and ruination of the best regular season (20-10-4) in the Sounders' six-year history, which was also the MLS's best in the nearly endless 2014 season.

The Sounders' wretched playoff history — five-for-five in getting to the playoffs, but only once to the Western finals and never to the championship MLS Cup — would have had another dour chapter after the big investment in exotic talent such as Dempsey and Martins.

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