It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Seattle Sounders FC as they head to Frisco this weekend to battle FC Dallas. Not only did they see their Supporters' Shield lead slip away but in the span of one week they lost to both rivals, which resulted in them missing out on their Supporters' prized Cascadia Cup.
The Sounders come into town losers of their last three. Sigi Schmid's club has given up 10 goals in that three game span and will be without some key players this weekend when they visit.
FC Dallas Notes:
Finale for Hyndman. Obviously after Friday's big news, this will mark the home finale for Schellas Hyndman as manager of FC Dallas. Hopefully the fans will be supportive of Hyndman as he finishes out his tenure here in Frisco.
Attendance mark. FC Dallas is inching closer to besting their all-time attendance mark set back in 1996. After 16 home games, the club is averaging 15,396 per game. A gate number above about 10k on Saturday will best the all-time mark for a season by the club.
Banged up. Dallas will be without some key players on Saturday as Raul Fernandez, Mauro Diaz and George John are all likely out for this match. It doesn't help that the club is the league's top foul sufferer. FC Dallas has been fouled 456 times this season. Montreal is second on that list with 13 fewer fouls.
There is no way getting around it, the Sounders are in a massive funk at the moment. Ten goals given up in the last three games is no way a Supporters' Shield contender should act, especially at this stage in the season. With two games to go, the Sounders are still in a good spot to reach the post season but their form has just been dreadful when it matters most as of late.
Speed has been what has killed them lately. Colorado put the peddle to the metal two weeks ago with five goals in that game, and Vancouver followed the same pattern last Wednesday, in Seattle.
Seattle still has the talent to turn things around however. They may not have Clint Dempsey for this one and Obafemi Martins might not be available either. The question marks are still in the air about Eddie Johnson as well. But they still have bite in their attack with Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle.
Dallas fans know all to well about how good this Sounder team is after the two previous losses to them this season. Seattle scored seven goals in the two previous meetings on Dallas. You could make the case that being on Seattle's turf for those two games was a reason for that but the last game (a 3-0 loss for Dallas) came when Seattle was just getting hot.
Schmid likes to use a 4-4-2 and he hasn't moved away from that during this recent slump. We could see guys like Steve Zakuani return to the lineup. One thing we can expect is Seattle to give it a big push though in this one.
Goalkeeper: Marcus Hahnemann; RB: DeAndre Yedlin; CB: Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado; LB: Leonardo Gonzalez; RM: Mauro Rosales; CM: Adam Moffat, Brad Evans; LM: Steve Zakuani; FW: Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle
Keys to Three Points:
Speed kills. It works both ways between these two teams. The speed of the Sounders really exposed Dallas for what they were earlier this season in their first meeting. And they did it again in the follow-up game. But Dallas can use their speed on the outside to get revenge in this one as well. Seattle has been exposed by the Colorado and Vancouver here recently as a way to beat them. Go at them with speed on the flanks and down the middle. It works.
Dominate the middle. Hey, look, Oswaldo Alonso is suspended for this one. So their key cog in the midfield will be missing. That means Dallas will have to dominate the middle of the park in this one. They cannot let Moffatt or Evans control the game, because if you allow both of them time on the ball, they will hurt you.
Play for pride. Dallas has nothing to lose right now, a win will just be a win and the pressure of reaching the playoffs is over. If they go out and play for pride, they can get a result against this Seattle team. Bank on it.
We know where things are going now that Hyndman has announced his resignation. Changes are going to happen and some players will be playing for their contracts here. Part of me wants a Rudy-esce situation where the team wins or draws this game late and carries Hyndman off the field. A nice sign of respect for the coach. Will it happen? Doubtful but one can dream good things, even if you aren't a fan of his.
I think Dallas will get a draw in this one though. Seattle's form isn't great at the moment but I see them getting one late to spoil Hyndman's last game.
Dallas 1, Seattle 1
What do you all see happening in this game? Let's hear it below.