Know Your Enemy: Seattle Sounders FC

Streaking Sounders have won four matches in a row

FC Dallas hits the road for the first of two games this week as they travel west to face the league’s hottest team, Seattle Sounders FC.

The two sides last squared off just over three weeks ago, with the Sounders coming out on top 3-2 thanks to two goals from Clint Dempsey. David Texeira and Michel scored the two Dallas goals in the loss.

Seattle is coming off a come from behind win over the weekend at home to the Philadelphia. Obafemi Martins tied the game up in the second half and defender Chad Marshall scored the game-winner off a header in the 84th minute.

FCD is 1-4-1 in all-time meetings at Seattle's CenturyLink Field .

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Injury Watch

Sigi Schmid’s squad hasn’t bit hit too hard by the injury bug so far this season. Rookie defender Damion Lowe is out with a hip injury. The Sounders also recently lost reserve forward Kevin Parsemain to an ACL tear.

Defender Leo Gonzalez is currently a question mark for Seattle as he has been dealing with a hamstring strain for a couple weeks.

Key Matchups

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Blas Perez vs Chad Marshall - For Dallas to get any success in the attack, it will come down to what Perez is able to do away from the ball. If he can draw out Marshall and help facilitate the runs on the wings, things will open up for Dallas. But Marshall is a wise veteran that doesn’t pull out of position too much. Also expect this battle to be one to watch on set pieces for both teams.

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Fabian Castillo vs DeAndre Yedlin - This was a fantastic matchup in the first meeting between these two teams. Castillo’s speed really tested what Yedlin could do on the flanks and at times pinned him back more in his own defensive third. Yedlin was able to find more space up the field late in the game, which did help open up the Seattle attack.

Key Player for Seattle

Clint Dempsey - There is no other player in MLS that is as valuable to his team’s success as Dempsey at the moment. The United States national team captain is leading the league right now with eight goals and he also has three assists. As Dallas saw in the last meeting, Dempsey is most dangerous when he has the space to create and finish chances. Seattle does a great job of finding him in pockets of space to contribute in the attack.

Projected Lineup

Schmid has lately been using a 4-4-2 type formation with Dempsey sitting just slightly behind Martins in the attack.

Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei; RB: DeAndre Yedlin; CB: Chad Marshall, Djimi Toure LB: Dylan Remick; RM: Brad Evans; CM: Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pindea; LM: Lemar Neagle; FW: Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins

Keys to three points

The familiarity between these two teams should shine through in this midweek battle. Seattle loves to play with an open style of soccer that allows Dempsey to be the main player in the attack. He and Martins feed off one another in the attack. Dallas will not only need to shut those two down but find ways to cut off their service from the wings.

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Set pieces are still going to be a vital part of what Dallas can do against Seattle. Dallas does a great job at setting up their attack from a dead ball spot. Getting Michel back from suspension should also help facilitate the quality of chances that they get on set pieces.

Discipline will be a big thing in this match for FCD as well. The game may come down to what referee Baldomero Toledo will allow as he is known for being card-happy.  FCD has five red cards on the season and are a team that does play physical across the pitch.

The real key to this match will end up being in the middle portion of the field. Seattle loves to hit teams on a quick counter and will hurt Dallas with pressure that causes turnovers. If Dallas doesn’t take care of the ball in this one, they could be looking at another loss to the Sounders this season.