FRISCO, Texas - If you like offense, Saturday’s game at Toyota Stadium between FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders FC could be the one for you.
FCD and Seattle come into Saturday night’s clash with the two highest-scoring offenses in MLS. The two clubs combined for eight goals scored in last weekend’s matches and rosters with players like Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo, Clint Dempsey and Kenny Cooper should ensure plenty of attacking flair.
However, if Matt Hedges and Zach Loyd have their way only one team will find the scoresheet on Saturday night.
“Most importantly, we are just focusing on what we are going to do, what we are going to bring to the table especially being here at home,” said Loyd. “We want to come out and dictate the tempo of the game. Hopefully, we can come out, impose on them what we want, and come out of here with three points.”
Toyota Keys to the Match
Indeed, while Dallas has scored a league-high 13 goals, it all starts at the back and although the FCD defensive unit hasn’t shut out an opponent yet this season, the defending has been mostly stifling with only one goal allowed in each of the last four games. They’ll have their sternest test yet on Saturday, however, and the defense knows that stopping last week’s hat trick hero Clint Dempsey will be key to earning three points.
“We can’t make mistakes. We have to be aware of him at all times,” said Hedges. “We saw him last year and kind of saw what he is capable of, but he is in better form right now. We just have to be aware of him at all times.”
One of the strategies that has worked for the Dallas defense this year is pressuring high up the field, especially at Toyota Stadium. Expect the defense to hassle the Sounders attack well up the pitch on Saturday night, ensuring players like Dempsey, Martins and Cooper have little-to-no time on the ball.
“Being a defender, I know that losing the ball in the back or middle third, it is kind of a scramble trying to get behind the ball and getting set,” said Loyd. “Winning the ball in a high position does not give the opposition time to get set behind the ball. That is one of the reasons we like to press high, we like to get it in good positions because when we do win it, the [opposing] team is usually stretched.”
With a perfect 3-0-0 home record and another big crowd expected on Saturday night, Hedges, Loyd and the Dallas defense will be targeting their first shutout of the year and a fourth-straight home win to start the season.
“The atmosphere we are expecting is another great crowd,” said Hedges. “In this league, you have to get three points at home all the time. That is what we strive for. If you can do that, you have a good chance of making the playoffs, so we always want to get as many points as possible when we are at home.”