Dempsey brace guides Sounders into Western Conference final

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One half of the Western Conference final was decided on Thursday night in a lopsided Cascadia clash.

The Seattle Sounders knocked off the Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0, at CenturyLink Field to reach the MLS final four.

[ MORE: Dempsey says USMNT must learn from WCQ failure ]

Clint Dempsey‘s 88th minute finish sealed the victory for the home side, after the U.S. Men’s National Team attacker volleyed home a Victor Rodriguez cross at the far post.

Brian Schmetzer’s side took the lead half an hour prior when Clint Dempsey curled a left-footed shot into the right corner, beating Whitecaps keeper Stefan Marinovic.

Dempsey had nearly put the Sounders in front on the stroke of halftime after Nicolas Lodeiro’s cross found the American attacker just yards away from goal.

Controversy struck in the 35th minute when the Sounders played a quick counter attack down the left flank, and brought out video replay.

The home side appeared to be in on goal when Lodeiro picked out a perfect through ball into the path of Nouhou Tolo, but the Sounders defender was pulled down close to the penalty area by Whitecaps outside back Jakob Nerwinski.

After review, the referee decided that it wasn’t a penalty (video below), despite Tolo appearing to go down inside the Whitecaps area.

The Sounders will meet either the top-seeded Portland Timbers or the Houston Dynamo in the West final, which will be played over two legs on Nov. 21 and Nov. 30.