Here is a look back from the Sounders, quantifying the difficulty ahead Sunday: Needing to come from three-goals back to advance to MLS Cup:
Second Leg at Home
Needing a dominant result at home, Sounders FC will look to reverse the recent league-wide trend of struggling at home in the postseason. In the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs the home teams have struggled, posting a record of 5-5-2. Seattle tied Real Salt Lake in the lone postseason home match this season, and the team is 1-1-2 all-time at home in the playoffs, going unbeaten in the past two matches. The LA Galaxy has two of the five home victories this postseason, having eliminated Vancouver in the Play-in Game and downing Seattle 3-0 last Sunday. In the first leg of the Conference Championships on Sunday, the home team won by a combined score of 6-1.
Overall, there have been 40 home-and-home series in league history and home teams have gone 23-8-9 in the second leg. Three of those eight losses have come in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs, including Seattle’s win at Real Salt Lake. The lone win by a higher seed at home in the second leg was Sporting Kansas City, but the result was not enough to advance as Sporting was eliminated.
Home Teams in Second Leg – 2012
Home Team Opponent Result
San Jose Earthquakes LA Galaxy LA won 3-1 (LA advanced 3-2 on aggregate)
Sporting Kansas City Houston Dynamo HOU lost 1-0 (HOU advanced 2-1 on aggregate)
Real Salt Lake Seattle Sounders FC SEA won 1-0 (SEA advanced 1-0 on aggregate)
New York Red Bulls* D.C. United D.C. won 1-0 (D.C. advanced 2-1 on aggregate)
*Lower seed hosted second leg due to inclement weather.
Playoff Comeback Lore
Since MLS instituted the aggregate goal Conference Semifinal Series in 2003, the team losing the first leg has rallied to win the series 11 times. Three of those clubs went on to lift MLS Cup, and three others made it to the championship match. Four of those survivors trailed by at least two goals at one point.
The LA Galaxy were on the losing side of the greatest of all comebacks to date, pulled off by the San Jose Earthquakes in 2003.The Quakes were beaten, 2-nil, by the Galaxy in the first leg, and then they fell behind 2-0 (4-0 on aggregate) after the first 13 minutes of the second leg at home. San Jose then began chipping away at the deficit, finally tying the score in 90th minute before winning in extra time, 5-4. The Quakes proceeded to win the conference final and championship game.
Year Result (First Leg Score, Aggregate Score)
2003 San Jose* beat LA Galaxy (0-2, 5-4)
2004 Kansas City+ beat San Jose (0-2, 3-2)
LA Galaxy beat Colorado (0-1, 2-1)
2005 New England+ beat New York (0-1, 3-2)
2006 New England+ beat Chicago (0-1, 2-2 on PK’s)
Houston* beat Chivas USA (1-2, 3-2)
Colorado beat Dallas (1-2, 4-4 on PK’s)
2007 Houston* beat Dallas (0-1, 4-2)
2009 Chicago beat New England (1-2, 3-2)
2010 San Jose beat New York (0-1, 3-2)
2012 Los Angeles beat San Jose (0-1, 3-2)