FC Dallas is looking for its first win on the franchise-long road swing as the team heads into Seattle on Saturday evening. Dallas rebounded last week with a strong defensive effort in a 0-0 draw against San Jose, moving the team’s record to 6-4-4 on the season – good for 22 points and fifth place in the Western Conference. Seattle comes into Saturday’s match off of a 1-0 loss to Sporting SK last week, but still holds the top spot in conference with a record of 8-4-2 and 26 points. In the first meeting of the season, the two sides played to a 0-0 draw at Toyota Stadium on March 28.
The Sounders return home after a heartbreaking loss in KC on a second-half PK. Seattle is tied for third in league scoring, but was without its top two scorers last week as Clint Dempsey remained at home with his newborn son and Obafemi Martins underwent surgery for a broken nose. Both are expected back for Saturday’s match against Dallas. FCD will see another week of lineup changes with four players called up for international duty – Kellyn Acosta, Tesho Akindele, Atiba Harris and Moises Hernandez. Blas Perez and Rolando Escobar will be available after returning from international duties earlier in the week. Je-Vaughn Watson will miss Saturday’s match after receiving a red card in San Jose.
Key Player for Seattle
Clint Dempsey – The U.S. Men’s National Team star should be well-rested and itching to get back into action after the birth of his fourth child last weekend. Dempsey has seven goals in eleven games this season and has a knack for scoring when it counts – tallying three game-winners already this season. Dempsey leads his team in assists as well with six in 2015.
Blas Perez vs. Stefan Frei – The second-year Sounder has had a phenomenal season thus far allowing just eleven goals on the season and recording seven shutouts – including five shutouts at Century Link Field. Perez returns to the FC Dallas lineup after missing last weekend’s match and will need to provide a spark to the team’s offense – which has scored just one goal in the last four games.
Walker Zimmerman vs. Clint Dempsey – FC Dallas will be without defensive mainstays Harris, Hernandez and Watson, and with the status of Matt Hedges uncertain for Saturday, the task of shutting down the Sounders’ leading scorer looms large over Zimmerman and Zach Loyd.
Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei; Defenders: Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick, Tyrone Mears, Zach Scott; Midfielders: Cristian Roldan, Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda; Forwards: Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins
Keys to three points
FC Dallas will have its hands full on Saturday heading into one of the loudest atmospheres in MLS at Century Link Field, while missing several key traditional starters. If Dallas can find the offensive touch that has been missing in the last few weeks and shut down a high-scoring Seattle offense, they should be primed to come away with the first three-point performance of the trip.