Seattle will take a significant lead into next Sunday's decisive leg in Frisco.

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Three goals in an eight-minute stretch of the second half powered the Sounders to a stunning 3-0 victory over top-seeded FC Dallas in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal series on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field.

These are my first impressions:

– This was the greatest playoff performance in Seattle’s MLS history.

Certainly, those successes in the early years were enhanced by their sense of newness, of a trajectory that only ever seemed to chart ever upward every season.

Last year’s knockout round triumph against Los Angeles, having previously been eliminated by the Galaxy on three separate occasions, had the satisfaction of overcoming a longtime bully.

But what transpired in that eventful eight-minute stretch early in the second half was unprecedented in the club’s recent history. Three goals in eight minutes, a top seed all but vanquished by a surreal attacking surge, the path to MLS Cup is as wide open as its ever been.

– Interim coach Brian Schmetzer deserves all kinds of kudos.

You don’t often see significant lineup changes in the middle of a postseason. Yet in the aftermath of Seattle’s unconvincing knockout-round win over Kansas City, Schmetzer made the bold decision to shake up the status quo.

Nelson Valdez, the hero of that Sporting triumph, made his first start since August as the lone forward in Schmetzer’s amorphous 4-3-2-1 formation. Jordan Morris was deployed on the wing, where he had struggled mightily early in the season but where he thrived on Sunday night, able to stay involved in the game in a way he hadn’t in weeks.

“Our touches are down between Jordan and Lodeiro,” Schmetzer admitted late this week. “We’re trying to figure that out. It’s noticeable. Yes, we do (need to improve). Yes, we’re working on it.”

Schmetzer pushed all the right buttons in pursuit of that solution. He was rewarded by the signature victory of his tenure.

– Man of the Match? Take your pick.

Valdez, who prior to Thursday night had gone 364 days between league goals, scored his second in four nights to break the deadlock. His back-post header was set up by Joevin Jones, who was credited with two assists and helped set up a third.

Lodeiro scored twice, the first of which was put on a platter by a strong run and pinpoint feed from Morris. But for the momentary scare of a cheap turnover early in the first half, 36-year-old Zach Scott deputized ably enough with Roman Torres out with a tight hamstring.

– The Sounders have one foot in the conference finals.

Dallas now requires a 3-0 win next Sunday just to force extra time. A single Seattle goal, and thanks to the away-goals tiebreaker, FCD will have to net at least five to advance.

Dallas certainly didn’t look like the top seed in the Western Conference on Sunday night, let alone one that has recently lifted both the U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield as regular-season MLS champions. It looked like a team still figuring out how to play in the absence of several key difference-makers.

League MVP candidate Mauro Diaz was lost for the season with an Achilles injury suffered against the Sounders exactly two weeks ago. The loss of Diaz was doubly resonant after the midseason transfer of explosive winger Fabian Castillo to a Turkish club.

Unless FCD coach Oscar Pareja can manage to adjust on the fly in a similar fashion to what Schmetzer pulled off on Sunday night, the Sounders will be moving on.