FC DALLAS vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS
TOYOTA STADIUM, Frisco, Texas
Sept. 24, 2014 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #274) 8 p.m. CT (MLS LIVE, TWCS-TX; JOEtv)
A key match in the Western Conference kicks off the MLS week as FC Dallas play host to the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday evening at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas are still in fourth place in the Western Conference, with their playoff future not yet secured, after their 2-1 loss at the LA Galaxy last weekend. The Sounders have punched their postseason ticket but are now tied with the Galaxy for the Supporters' Shield as holders of the league's best overall record, their four-game winning run coming to an end in a 4-1 loss at the New York Red Bulls last weekend.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Adam Garner; 4th: Ismail Elfath
Geiger MLS Career: 124 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 31; pens: 42
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: DAL: Blas Pérez, Victor Ulloa … SEA: Zach Scott
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DAL: Fabian Castillo, Matt Hedges, Je-Vaughn Watson, Adam Moffat … SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins, Gonzalo Pineda, DeAndre Yedlin
DISABLED LIST: DAL: Hendry Thomas (season-ending injury)
ALL-TIME (14 meetings): FC Dallas 2 wins, 14 goals … Sounders 8 wins, 23 goals … Ties 4
AT DALLAS (6 meetings): FC Dallas 1 win, 8 goals … Sounders 3 wins, 10 goals … Ties 3
4/12: DAL 2, SEA 3 (Texeira 10; Michel 42 - Dempsey 22, 85; own goal 75)
5/7: SEA 2, DAL 1 (Neagle 62; Cooper 88 - Michel 16)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Lamar Neagle and Kenny Cooper scored late goals, the game-winner in the 88th minute, bringing the Sounders back for a 2-1 on May 7 at CenturyLink Field. Clint Dempsey scored a pair of goals, his second in the 85th minute capping a second-half comeback to give Seattle a 3-2 win on April 12 at Toyota Stadium.
- FC Dallas have won just once in the last nine meetings between the teams, a 2-0 win last Sept. 19 at Toyota Stadium. The Sounders have won seven of those encounters, with one draw.
- The Sounders have also won their last four home meetings with FC Dallas. The lone FCD victory at CenturyLink Field all-time came May 25, 2011, a 1-0 win.
- Coaches' records: Sigi Schmid vs. DAL: P39 W19 L9 D11 … Oscar Pareja vs. SEA: P8 W1 L6 D1
LAST MEETING (MLS):
- FC Dallas took the lead in the 16th minute. While chasing a ball over the top, Brad Evans got his feet tangled up with FCD striker Blas Pérez and referee Baldemero Toledo pointed to the spot. Michel then coolly finished from the spot.
- The Sounders drew level in the 62nd minute. Obafemi Martins split a pair of defenders with a pass from the right flank to Lamar Neagle at the near post, and he sent a neat, quick touch past FCD 'keeper Raul Fernandez from the edge of the six-yard box.
- The game-winner came in the 88th minute from almost identical circumstances. This time, Martins worked the ball down the left channel and sent in a cross to Kenny Cooper, who was unmarked in front of goal, and he side-footed home first-time from the top of the six.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Chad Marshall, Brad Evans - Lamar Neagle (Kenny Cooper 86), Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa (Chad Barrett 74) - Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey (Jalil Anibaba 94+).
- FC DALLAS (4-1-3-2): Raul Fernandez - Zach Loyd, Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges, Michel - Hendry Thomas - Adam Moffat, Danny Garcia (Victor Ulloa 72), Andrew Jacobson (Jair Benitez 78) - David Texeira (Fabian Castillo 65), Blas Pérez
FC Dallas suffered their third defeat in their last four matches, falling 2-1 to the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. FC Dallas sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 45 points from 29 games.
- Dallas went ahead nine minutes into the second half. Andres Escobar collected a throw-in on the right flank and crossed into the area, just above the 6-yard box, where Blas Pérez outleapt his marker and nodded the ball past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the netting inside the right post.
- The Galaxy were level in the 62nd minute. Fullback Dan Gargan whipped in a low cross from the right, and FC Dallas wasn't able to clear their lines. Gyasi Zardes stripped a defender from behind and tapped it square to Robbie Keane, whose first-time shot went off goalkeeper Raul Fernandez's fingertips en route to the back of the net.
- Alan Gordon, who had come on as a substitute in the 75th minute, gave LA the lead eight minutes later. He created space behind his marker and headed a home a Keane cross from the left back across the goalmouth and inside the left post.
- FCD head coach Oscar Pareja made two changes to the team that defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-1 at Toyota Stadium. Kellyn Acosta and Ryan Hollingshead came into the side in place of Matt Hedges and Fabian Castillo.
- FC DALLAS (4-4-2): Raul Fernandez - Kellyn Acosta, Zach Loyd, Je-Vaughn Watson, Moises Hernandez - Ryan Hollingshead (Mauro Diaz 56 / Jair Benitez 83), Michel, Victor Ulloa, Andres Escobar - Tesho Akindele (Adam Moffat 75), Blas Pérez.
- FC Dallas lost their third game out of their last four - all away from Toyota Stadium. The three losses came on the heels of a 10-game undefeated run.
- "We're fighting for points. Weíre trying to get ourselves into the playoff spot, and we have the tools and the heart to do it," said FCD head coach Oscar Pareja. "All of our minds right now are on the Wednesday's game. We have to turn this page quick and be focused on Seattle Wednesday. Thatís where we are. We have all the tools, our boys are doing an incredible job and I am proud of them. I back them up, the way they ran today and pushed, it was good."
- Blas Pérez scored his third goal in the last two matches, after returning to the lineup after missing two matches to suspension and international duty. Pérez now has nine goals, matching his total from his first MLS season in 2012, two behind his single-season career-high set last year.
- "Fantastic goal, great finish by Blas. Heading the ball and putting it in the corner hard. Great cross as well," said Pareja. "I thought it was one of the best moments in the game for us. We finalized it with a good goal. It was exciting to see."
- With Matt Hedges missing the match through injury, Je-Vaughn Watson shifted inside to partner Zach Loyd in central defense. Watson began the season on the right side of midfield, but had started seven consecutive league games at right back.
- "Je-Vaughn is a good example [of a player able to make an adjustment for the team]," said Pareja. "They are good soccer players, they play hard for this club, for this team. If they need to play at right back, they have the tools to do it. I trust him and he trusts me and we give each other confidence."
- Ryan Hollingshead returned to the lineup after a two-match absence, starting his third match in the last six, on the right side of midfield.
- "I think we are finally feeling like we are getting in the top four. Even with injuries, guys not being able to play, it feels like whoever is stepping into either spot is connecting well. Feels like the chemistry is well, there is not really a weak link on the team," said Hollingshead. "So I feel like games like this when weíre up a goal, donít need to give away anything, and really the power, the control is in our hands and we kind of gave it to them. With a little bit more tactics, better movement, better spacing, better kind of organization, we donít give up those goals and go away with a win."
- There was an injury concern after Mauro Diaz came on the field to replace Hollingshead in the 56th minute, his third consecutive substitute appearance after missing three straight matches to injury, but Diaz was forced off in the 83rd minute.
The Seattle Sounders saw their winning streak come to an end after four matches, falling 4-1 to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Sounders are tied for first place in the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 54 points from 28 games.
- The Red Bulls and Bradley Wright-Phillips got off to a dream start, scoring just 30 seconds into the match when Wright-Phillips potted a rebound after Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei parried away an Ambroise Oyongo shot.
- The lead was doubled early in the second half, after Seattle defender Dylan Remick chopped down Lloyd Sam in the penalty area. Wright-Phillips converted from the spot in the 53rd minute, putting his shot to his left despite Frei getting a hand to it.
- Before the celebrations could die down, Wright-Phillips struck again. Roy Miller played in a gorgeous ball in the 56th minute from the left which Wright-Phillips sent first-time past Frei with a powerful shot.
- The Sounders pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute. Just two minutes after entering the match, Clint Dempsey took a pass from Lamar Neagle on the left side of the penalty area, and Dempsey first-timed the ensuing shot past goalkeeper Luis Robles.
- Just after he came on as a substitute for Wright-Phillips, Tim Cahill netted in the 65th minute to finish off the rout, capitalizing on a poor touch from a Sounders defender and stinging a low shot off the right post.
- Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid rang in the changes from the team that took a 3-2 win against Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field. Only three players maintained their place: goalkeeper Stefan Frei and midfielders Lamar Neagle and Osvaldo Alonso.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Jalil Anibaba, Djimi Traoré, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick - Lamar Neagle, Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso (Gonzalo Pineda 80), Marco Pappa - Kenny Cooper (Clint Dempsey 60), Chad Barrett (Obafemi Martins 59).
- The Sounders had their four-game MLS winning streak come to an end in the loss, which followed their victory in the U.S. Open Cup Final against Philadelphia Union at midweek.
- "We had a lot of tired guys, I needed to rest some guys today, there was no other option, there was no way around that. But disappointed in the performance of some of our guys," said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. "… It's not an Open Cup hangover. Anytime you have a game like that youíre going to maybe start off flat, and we started off flat, but after 10-15 minutes I felt we were OK. But we just made too many individual mistakes."
- Said defender Djimi Traoré: "Of course we conceded four goals, but over the couple of games we concede a couple of goals. I think if we want to go far, win MLS Cup we need to change some stuff, especially when we play away from home we start to give up some goals. You can see it just takes one mistake when you play against a good team, they can finish you. The last three games we have been a bit lucky, but that showed why we need to work and we need to concentrate for the whole game."
- Clint Dempsey scored the Seattle goal; he now has a goal and/or an assist in five consecutive MLS games (with three goals and three assists in that time).
- It was the first time since the World Cup break that neither Dempsey nor Obafemi Martins started in the Sounders attack. The pair missed back-to-back matches June 28-July 5.
- Traoré made his first start since Aug. 20, coming into central defense, as did Jalil Anibaba at right back, while Dylan Remick made his first league appearance since July 28, starting at left back.
- "We came here with a lot of expectations and we don't perform well. Of course the coach completely changed the lineup from the past few games, and sometimes it doesn't pay off," said Traoré. "When we give them four goals, especially the first one from the first minute, I think that killed us, I don't think we ever came back from that first goal."
- Kenny Cooper made his first league appearance in five matches, since Aug. 20, starting up top alongside Chad Barrett, who was making his first start on the front line since that match.
- Marco Pappa returned to the lineup after missing the last two matches while on international duty with Guatemala.
- "It's a lot of individual mistakes that ended up happening that cost the team. I donít think we kept possession well enough, as well; you know in keeping possession and take some of that pressure off of you, but itís just one of those days at the office where you forget about it and you move on," said Schmid.