Know Your Enemy: Seattle Sounders FC
FC Dallas is back out on the road this weekend as they face one of the league’s hotter clubs, Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening.
People around the league are beginning to take note of the Sounders due to their current form. Sigi Schmid’s club has won three out of their last four after starting the season 0-3-2.
Seattle is coming off a big week in which they doubled their season point total winning at Sporting KC on a late goal from Djimi Traore and blowing out the San Jose Earthquakes 4-0 at home.
Dallas is 1-2-1 all-time at CenturyLink Field for league matches with the last win coming in the summer of 2011 on a Brek Shea goal.
Schmid has had some injuries to deal with all season so far with the biggest being on his offensive side of things. Star forwards Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins have had lingering issues, but both should be fit for this contest.
The bigger question could be whether or not defender Marc Burch (quad strain), midfielder Shalrie Joseph (hamstring strain) and Steve Zakuani (abdominal strain) will be good to go on Saturday evening.
Osvaldo Alonso vs Michel – This could be one of Michel’s toughest assignments to date in a Dallas uniform. Alonso has been tracking up the field a little more this season, which is helping push the Seattle attack more than in recent years. Alonso is also a pure ball winner, as he roams the field relentlessly for 90 minutes. Michel will need to step up and find ways to not give Alonso the space to win as many balls as he is accustomed to.
Key Player for Seattle
Mauro Rosales – The Argentine playmaker has been on fire as of late for the Sounders. During their current unbeaten streak, Rosales has two goals and two assists. Remarkably, Rosales hasn’t played a full 90 minutes since late March. When he is on his game, the Sounders are very tough to beat.
Schmid employs a fairly straight forward 4-4-2 formation that sometimes goes into a diamond midfield.
Goalkeeper: Michael Gspuring; RB: DeAndre Yedlin; CB: Zach Scott, Djimi Traore; LB: Leonardo Gonzalez; RM: Mauro Rosales; CM: Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans; LM: Steve Zakuani; FW: Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle
Keys to three points
This hot Seattle club could be the biggest challenge to date for FC Dallas. What the Sounders are doing well at right now is getting the ball up the field due to Alonso and Morales.
Seattle loves to get the ball in space and work it wide to guys like Zakuani, Mario Martinez, or even with a defender like Homegrown rookie DeAndre Yedlin. Those players do well at getting wide and working the ball into the box for Johnson, Neagle or Martins.
Nearly half of Seattle’s 10 goals this season have come from the wings on a cross, if Dallas eliminates those chances wide, they’ll do well in this game.
Dallas will need to control the middle of the field in this one and find ways to eliminate Alonso’s space in the midfield. The wings will also be a key battleground for Dallas in this one as well. Should Fabian Castillo start, he’ll need to find ways to track back and defend against Rosales.
One area that Dallas could exploit is the left side of the field. Leo Gonzalez hasn’t been on top form by some observers as of late and some high pressure on his side could result into some good chances for Dallas up front. Also, getting plenty of set piece chances will go a long way for Dallas in this on as well.
Getting points on the road are never easy, but given the form of FC Dallas anything is possible at the moment.