Rusnák, Morris, Frei Help Sounders Beat Dallas 2-0 in Series Opener
SEATTLE (AP) — Albert Rusnák scored on a first-half penalty kick, Jordan Morris added an insurance goal and Stefan Frei posted his 12th career clean sheet in the postseason as the Seattle Sounders beat FC Dallas 2-0 in a series opener on Monday night.
Seattle (15-9-11), the second seed in the Western Conference, is unbeaten in its last 10 matches (5-0-5) and ran its unbeaten streak at home to 18 against No. 7 seed Dallas (11-11-13). The Sounders are on a 14-0-4 streak at home in the series — including the playoffs — and beat Dallas for the fourth straight time when they match up in the postseason. The Sounders have eliminated Dallas in five of six opportunities — with their only loss coming in the 2015 conference semifinals.
Rusnák gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute after Cristian Roldan drew a foul on Dallas defender Marco Farfan. Morris scored in the 74th minute with assists from defender Nouhou Tolo and Nicolás Lodeiro. It was the eighth postseason goal of Morris' career. Rusnák's goal was the second of his career in the playoffs.
Frei, who led the league with 14 shutouts this season, finished with four saves. Maarten Paes saved four shots for Dallas.
Dallas lost Alan Velasco in the 18th minute to a lower-leg injury. Velasco had four goals and four assists in 28 appearances during the regular season.
Frei has allowed 28 goals in 29 career postseason starts for the Sounders dating back to 2014. Frei and the Sounders won the MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019.
Seattle's unbeaten home streak against Dallas is tied for the second longest in league history — matching those of Real Salt Lake (against Colorado from 2007-19) and San Jose (against Kansas City from 2001-16). New England set the record at 20 against New York from 2002-13. The Sounders' current overall streak is their longest since a 13-match unbeaten run to begin the 2021 season.
Dallas, which beat the Galaxy in Los Angeles on Decision Day to close out the regular season, has not won two in a row on the road since a three-match streak in 2018.
The Sounders travel to Dallas for the second leg of the series on Saturday. If necessary, the two clubs return to Seattle for the finale on Nov. 10.