FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders FC: Preview and Prediction

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas looks to remain unbeaten on the season.

So far, 2014 has been good to FC Dallas. Through five games Oscar Pareja's side is 4-0-1 with 13 points on the season. This weekend they host the Seattle Sounders FC and Clint Dempsey.

FC Dallas Notes:

Late goalscoring. FC Dallas has 13 goals on the season, which is best in Major League Soccer. The club also scored nine of those 13 goals in the second half, eight of those goals have been scored in the final thirty minutes.

Michel's service. Once again, the Brazilian has been key to the Dallas attack. Through five games he has two goals and one assist. In total, he has been apart of four of the Dallas goals. Not bad for a guy that is in a more limited role off the bench for Pareja.

Quick stats from Houston game - Here are the Opta stats from last week's game:
Michel: 130 actions (game high).
Mauro Diaz: Five fouls won, 2two assists, two successful dribbles.
Matt Hedges: 47/53 passing efficiency, six headers won, 15 clearances.
Fabian Castillo: Five tackles won.
Peter Luccin: 11/12 passing efficiency.
Hendry Thomas: 28/33 passing efficiency.
Victor Ulloa: 26/28 passing efficiency.

Keys to three points:

Seattle brings a lot of interesting elements to the game between Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, Osvaldo Alonso and our old pal Kenny Cooper. Sigi Schmid's side appears to be finding their way in this early season with a 2-2-1 record as well. Last week against Portland, they came from behind in a wild 4-4 draw at Providence Park.

The Sounders are a team that can beat you in many different ways. On set pieces, they have the size and physical play that can frustrate teams defensively. In the run of play, they have the skill in guys like Dempsey and Martins to do damage from anywhere.

FC Dallas will have their hands full in this one as they look to slow down Dempsey, who appears to finally be hitting his stride again here in MLS. Dempsey's hat trick last week against the Timbers proved that he isn't taking his stay in MLS lightly. Hendry Thomas will have to keep a closer eye on Dempsey this weekend as he likes to sit behind the Martins and Cooper in the attack and draw out the defense more. This all means that Thomas, Matt Hedges and Stephen Keel will need to have stellar communication with one another to make sure that Dempsey isn't able to control the attack.

In the attack, Dallas will want to spread out the Sounders on the wings but also find ways to go at the Sounders' defense down the middle. Last week against Portland, the Timbers had a lot of success at driving right at the middle of the Sounders defense by creating turnovers in the midfield and shooting from distance. Mauro Diaz will need to be able to have the space to pick apart the Sounder defense as well, which has shown at times this season to be a bit too relaxed down the middle.

One key battle to watch may also be Fabian Castillo against DeAndre Yedlin. Last week the Sounder Homegrown fullback had issues against a speedy Darlington Nagbe. If I were Pareja, I would expose Yedlin's ability to handle a speedy winger player like Castillo.

Prediction:

This one is really intriguing as we still don't know how FCD will truly be in a 11v11 situation for 90 minutes. If Diaz is able to pick apart the Sounder defense, which I think he will, Dallas will score some goals. But I do worry about how Dallas can contain the Sounders' attack with Dempsey, Martins and Cooper. Those three have shown me enough already this season to be worried with what they bring to the table. As much as I think Dallas wins this game, a draw seems more likely given how FCD has yet to shutout a team this season.

FC Dallas 2, Seattle 2

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