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FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders FC Matchday 12

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SEATTLE - JULY 11:  Fredy Montero #17 of the Seattle Sounders FC dribbles against George John #14 of FC Dallas on July 11 2010 at Qwest Field in Seattle Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE - JULY 11: Fredy Montero #17 of the Seattle Sounders FC dribbles against George John #14 of FC Dallas on July 11 2010 at Qwest Field in Seattle Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Almost exactly 72 hours after the rainy 0-0 home draw against Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas returns to action for a quick trip up to Cascadia to face Seattle Sounders FC. Dallas has actually never beaten Seattle in an MLS game before with a 0-1-3 record against the Sounders though last year's 1-1 draw in Seattle may have felt like a win. 

Seattle news and notes:

Strong at home Seattle sits just one point behind FC Dallas and it's mainly because of their home form. Seattle has lost just one of six at home with only four goals given up in those six games. 

Scoring woes There hasn't been more than one goal scored by either side in Seattle's last three games and Seattle has scored more than once in 3 out of their 12 games. Amazingly, Seattle's top scorers this season are two midfielders in Brad Evans and Alvaro Fernandez

Keep reading for more news, keys, links and prediction

Changing tactics In reading Sounder at Heart(Seattle SBN Soccer blog), it seems like they don't ever really know what to expect each week from Sigi Schmid. This means that Schellas is probably thinking the same way. 

Dallas News and Notes

Lineup decisions With a huge game on Saturday in Houston, it will be interesting to see if Schellas throws out the same lineup as Sunday. Jackson is a question mark but everyone else is healthy. You wonder if we could possibly see the debut of Moises Hernandez at left back today with Zach Loyd moving to right back or maybe a Castillo-Luna combination up front. It wouldn't shock me at all to see a tweak or two.

Shutout streak If FCD can hold Seattle scoreless for the first 17 minutes of the game they will break their franchise scoreless minutes streak record. Currently it is 415 minutes and was set last season. They would also hold the highest such streak in the league this season.

Eyes around the league Keep your eyes on the MLS scoreboard tonight as Houston plays in Los Angeles and Colorado plays in New York tonight. With the right results, Dallas could really begin to put a little daylight between themselves and the Western Conference pack. 

Keys to the game

Find some consistency From everything I've read about Sunday's game, it sounds like the Dallas offense looked pretty bad in the 4-4-2. A big part of that is speed which you can get on the Seattle slippery surface so Dallas could be due for a couple of goals today, but they have to find some consistency in attack. 

Give the center backs some help Even if Fredy Montero isn't in his 2010 form, the guy has always seemed to give Ugo and George John lots of problems so it's up to the midfield to help back and don't leave these guys on an island subject to the crazy bounces of the Qwest field turf. 

Someone step up offensively Who is going to go out there tonight and grab this game? Seattle Sounders and Qwest Field is not the fortress it once was and this game is there for the taking. Who will go out there and claim the three points tonight? I have a feeling that one of the non-usual suspects might do something big tonight. 

Set pieces We've said it 100 times but the set piece play will decide these games many times and Dallas has to find someone who can deliver quality service, not wasting the good free kick chances. Seattle stole three points against Kansas City on a set piece Saturday night so George John will need to be at his best as well

90 minutes strong Last year, Dallas was minutes from going 0-2 vs Seattle but scored late in both games. Last weekend, Seattle scored late to win their game. Neither team can sleep for a second or this one could get decided late as we're all getting ready for bed. 

Referee

 

REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Kevin Duliba;

4th: Juan Guzman 

MLS Career: 112 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 45; pens: 44

 

Links

Big D Soccer: Behind Enemy Lines | Three Questions | Tuesday news and thoughts

Matt Gashck points out the connections between Seattle and Dallas....if you remember this dude you're an FC Dallas/Burn OG

Finally, Sounders FC director of youth development Darren Sawatzky played one match for the Dallas Burn in 1998 before going on loan to the New Orleans Storm and Hershey Wildcats, eventually finishing the year with the Charleston Battery.

Josh Mayers of The Seattle Times has a nice preview of the game with a look at FC Dallas from the opposing view. He predicts a 1-0 Sounders win. 

To celebrate the Mavs comeback over OKC, the Dallas Morning News has been taking a look at great comebacks in Dallas sports and they took a trip down memory lane to read about Dallas' 1999 comeback over Chicago Fire, a favorite game of many old-timers. 

In a playoff series so physical it came close to looking like a boxing match at times, the Dallas Burn pulled off its own version of the rope-a-dope strategy.

Dallas was on the ropes after Chicago scored twice in the first five minutes, but it was the Burn that delivered the knockout blow with goals in the 84th and 86th minutes.

The Burn stunned the defending MLS champions with a 3-2 comeback win Wednesday before a delirious crowd of 9,795 at the Cotton Bowl. Dallas won the best-of-three series, 2-1, and advances to the MLS Western Conference final, which starts Sunday at Los Angeles.

Don Ruiz of The Olympian has a preview up with some good quotes

“Dallas has changed,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. “With the loss of Ferreira, they’ve gone more into a 4-4-2, rather than a 4-3-3 the way they were playing it. ... But they’ve got some speed up top, and they’re relying on that. So, it’s changed a little bit how they play. But Salt Lake is playing the same way; they’re just missing an important element of their team.”

Prediction 

Two fairly tired and beat up teams in a game that could see new players and formations. This one sounds like a low-scoring game that will be decided on a set piece. Give me a George John goal and Mauro Rosales equalizer. 

1-1 Draw

What's your game prediction and thoughts?