Know Your Enemy: Seattle Sounders FC
The regular season is coming to a close for FC Dallas and Saturday will be the home finale as the club hosts the Seattle Sounders FC at Toyota Stadium(1:30PM, NBC - TICKETS).
Dallas was eliminated from playoff contention last weekend with the loss to Chicago, but the team can still play for pride to close the season.
Seattle is still in the middle of a big playoff race and Supporters’ Shield race. Sigi Schmid’s club currently sits in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 51 points. They are just two points back of the top spot in the league yet could still fail to qualify for the playoffs as well.
However, the Sounders are in a bit of a rut as of late, losing their last three games by a combined score of 10-2, including two games last week to rivals Vancouver and Portland.
WATCH: Sounders fall to Timbers last Sunday
Seattle has already won the previous two meetings with Dallas this season, both in the Emerald City. In May, Seattle won the first meeting 4-2 and then followed it up with a second win in August 3-0.
Schmid has been dealing with plenty of injuries in the last month. Forwards Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins are all injury question marks though Schmid said earlier in the week that all three could travel to Dallas.
Other question marks include defender Leo Gonzalez (hip) and Shalrie Joseph (knee sprain).
Adam Moffat vs David Ferreira – With Osvaldo Alonso suspended for this match, the bulk of the midfield work is going to fall on Moffat. He has had trouble with Ferreira in the past when he played for Houston. Ferreira got the best of him back in March when he last visited Frisco.
Mauro Rosales vs Jair Benitez – Rosales is still the main catalyst for the Sounders' attack. He pulls all the strings from his right midfielder spot. Benitez will need to shut him down to help keep the Sounders off the board.
Key Player for Seattle
Mauro Rosales – The Argentine playmaker is always a focal point of the Sounders attack. If he is able to spay balls from his right midfield spot with ease, the Sounders attack will have a nice evening in this one.
Schmid employs a fairly straight forward 4-4-2 formation that sometimes goes into a diamond midfield.
Goalkeeper: Marcus Hahnemann; RB: DeAndre Yedlin; CB: Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado; LB: Leonardo Gonzalez; RM: Mauro Rosales; CM: Adam Moffat, Brad Evans; LM: Steve Zakuani; FW: Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle
Keys to three points
Now that the playoff hopes are gone for FC Dallas, the players can, in a way, concentrate on getting back to basics here to finish out the regular season. If anything, Dallas can play the spoiler role against Seattle on Saturday.
Seattle has not played well as of late and will be desperate for points this weekend. Dallas will want to control the point of attack and maintain smart possession in the midfield. They’ll want to press the Sounders back line as well with speed on the outside.
Set pieces will also be key for Dallas in this one as the Sounders are prone to getting beat on a header. Seattle has given up seven goals this season on headers.
Dallas will also want to play smart defensively. Seattle has beaten Dallas twice previously this season due to bad defensive shape and a high defensive line by Dallas. Seattle’s speed got the best of Dallas in the previous two meetings. Players like Andrew Jacobson and Erick will need to have big performances in the midfield to keep the pressure off the back four.
Dallas will want to finish the regular season on a strong note and beating the Sounders would be a good start for that.