FRISCO, TX - MAY 6: Goal keeper Matt Pickens #18 of the Colorado Rapids collects the ball as Fabian Castillo #7 of the FC Dallas closes in during the first half of a soccer game at FC Dallas Stadium on May 6, 2012 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
FC Dallas (12 points; 3-4-3) takes on Seattle Sounders FC (19 points; 6-1-1) in another huge Western Conference tilt at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco. For FC Dallas, a team that hasn't won in their last four games, it's gut check time while for Seattle it's a chance to go top of the MLS table (in points per game) while extending their win streak to five in a row.
Absences galore Villar, Rodriguez, Perez, Hernandez, Ihemelu, Warshaw and possibly Shea. Seven players who played on opening day that will not be available. It's an amazing number when you also take into account that Ferreira and Wiedeman, two guys who would also likely play, are out also. Almost an entire team of 11 that is missing. Look for the inclusion of James Marcelin tonight and possibly Ruben Luna while Hernan Pertuz is the most likely choice to slot in next to George John in Ugo's absence. Seattle will be missing their goalkeeper Gspurning, Leo Gonzalez and that's about it. Must be nice.
Road success In the six times these teams have met, the home team has won just one time, all the way back in 2009. Both road teams won last season while FCD is 0-1-2 all time against Seattle in Frisco.
Eastern Conference looms After tonight, FCD has three straight against Eastern Conference teams in what should be a welcome reprieve from the Western Conference meat grinder.
Spreading the wealth Seattle boasts six different goal scorers and six players with assists this season that will be available tonight. By contrast, if Shea is out, Dallas will have one player on the pitch who has scored a goal this season (Loyd) and two with assists (Loyd & Castillo)
Keys to the game, Referee(hold your breath), Form & Prediction after the jump
Keys to the game
Siege Mentality It's us against the world for FCD tonight, backs against the wall. A team that has lost one game on the season and is possibly the top team in the league at this point is coming into town and you're missing almost every major piece of the offense. For Dallas, I think tonight is about defending with everything you have and hoping to snatch a goal or two on the counter attack. Dallas has shown to be a team with a ton of character and it will be on display tonight.
Castillo Must Produce Tonight is Fabian's game to shine. The FCD offense will be flowing through him and I think it's time for the young Colombian to give us something to cheer. He's has 7 starts now with no goals and just one assist. Let's see something out of him tonight.
Get behind the team It's obviously not going to be a huge crowd out there tonight and the team needs your backing now more than ever. Be loud tonight and let your voice be heard.
REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Abbey Okulaja
MLS Career: First game.
You read that correctly, we get a debut referee tonight.
FC Dallas - W L T T L
Seattle Sounders FC - T W W W W
Prediction (6-4 on the season)
I'm in a bit of a slump with my predictions lately. I hate to be a downer on this one, but the cards are certainly stacked against FCD on this one. I think they'll keep it 0-0 for a long time, but fatigue and a lack of a gamechanger to bring off the bench gets the better of them.