Sounders 2, FC Dallas 1
SEATTLE (STATS) - Even before their regular season finale, the Seattle Sounders had become the first MLS expansion team since the 1998 Chicago Fire to make the playoffs. In their finale, they dashed FC Dallas' postseason hopes. Brad Evans, who had an earlier goal nullified by an offsides call, scored the game-winner in the 84th minute, rallying the Sounders past Dallas 2-1. Dallas (11-13-6) had surged back into contention following a 1-7-3 start, but was finally eliminated with Saturday's loss. "Unfortunately, we had a rough start, but (later), we were playing about as well as anyone in the league," Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. "This was one of those games where we never got our rhythm into play. It was a game that was going to change at any moment, whether it was officiating or a slippage or a diagonal ball." The victory was the 125th for Seattle coach Sigi Schmid, moving him past current US national team coach Bob Bradley for the most in MLS history. However, Schmid knows those regular season wins don't mean much now. "There have been a lot of great coaches in this league, and to have won more games than any of them fills me with a lot of humbleness and a lot of honor and pride," Schmid said. "But my favorite record is most wins in the playoffs (19), and that's one that I want to build on." The Sounders (12-7-11), now second in the Western Conference, will give Schmid that chance. Who they face in the two-leg first-round depends on the outcome of Sunday's finale between Houston and Chivas USA at Carson, Calif. Those two teams are currently tied for third in the West at 45 points apiece. Nate Jaqua also scored for Seattle, with his goal at the start of the 62nd minute ending a 375-minute home scoreless streak for the Sounders that stretched back to a 2-1 victory against Houston on July 11. "It was definitely good to get back on the board at home," said Jaqua, who netted the game-winner in last Saturday's 3-2 victory at Kansas City. "We were playing well and creating chances. We just weren't tucking them in the back of the net." Jaqua also started the play that led to Evans' winning goal with a pass down the left wing to Freddie Ljungberg. Ljungberg lofted a pass into the penalty area that dropped right onto the shoe top of Evans, who flicked it across the goalmouth, out of the reach of Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala and into the far right corner. Atiba Harris turned a quick run down the right wing into his fifth goal of the season - and Dallas' only goal of the night. Harris took a pass from Daniel Hernandez, went toward the upper corner of the penalty area, and sent his shot past goalkeeper Kasey Keller into the back left corner early in the 14th minute. Although Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham went scoreless Saturday, he effectively clinched the league's Golden Boot award as the top goal scorer. Cunningham finished with 17 goals - one more than Colorado's Conor Casey, who failed to score in the Rapids' 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake. No other MLS player has more than 12 goals.