It is time to get back to work in the regular season. FC Dallas hits the road for their first game in August as they travel back to the Pacific Northwest for a big meeting with the Seattle Sounders FC tomorrow night.
Dallas is 1-3-1 all-time during regular season matches with Seattle, including a 4-2 loss earlier this season in the Emerald City.
FC Dallas Notes:
Perez back. The biggest deal for Dallas may be getting Blas Perez back from international duty. Perez and Panama had a wonderful run in the Gold Cup that saw them crash out in the finals to the United States. Perez had a couple goals during the tournament, which to me should be more than enough to lean on him heavily in this game.
Healthy-ish. Last time Dallas was in Seattle, they went at it in a 4-4-2 with no David Ferreira, George John or Andrew Jacobson. All three of those players are now healthy and more importantly, I don't think the club will be showing a high defensive line in the back like they tried against the Sounders last time.
The Sounders have been an interesting bunch to watch over the last couple of months. While they have won some games they've also lost the same amount of games as Dallas has since June (three).
Seattle still has goal scorers in Eddie Johnson, Obafemi Martins and even guys like Lamar Neagle can do damage. Not to mention they also have a guy in Mauro Rosales that can spray balls into the box from his right wing spot with ease.
Injuries have been an issue for the Sounders this season but going into this game they should be fairly fit across their first team selections. Having Osvaldo Alonso back in the line up is a big thing for Sigi Schmid. Alonso's ability to control the middle of the field not only keeps the Sounders offense flowing but it also keeps the pressure off their defense. If he is able to dictate anything in this game, expect the Sounders to come out on top.
One battle that should be interesting to watch is rookie Homegrown defender DeAndre Yedlin going up against Fabian Castillo. I think Schellas Hyndman may opt to keep Kenny Cooper on the bench to start out with in this one so he has at least one attacking option off the bench (plus Eric Hassli is suspended). Knowing that the youth matchup on the flanks will be entertaining to see.
Possible lineup from Sigi Schmid:
Goalkeeper: Michael Gspurning; RB: DeAndre Yedlin; CB: Patrick Ianni, Djimi Traore; LB: Leonardo Gonzalez; RM: Mauro Rosales; CM: Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans; LM: Marc Burch; FW: Obafemi Martins, Lamar Neagle
Keys to three points:
Early pressure. Seattle has give up four goals inside the first 15 minutes of the game this season. If you can catch them at any point off guard it would be out of the gate. Dallas is a team that is desperate for goals and they need to push early to get that monkey off their back. Not to mention, putting one in early will shut their loud crowd out for at least a little bit.
Set pieces. It was killer against Seattle last time and it should be a big point of emphasis this time around. Michel scored a wonderful goal off a corner last time and set up a Cooper header momentums before that too. If Dallas wants to be in this game, applying the early pressure and making the most of their set pieces will go a long way.
Defend in space. Last time Seattle spread out their attack and played the long ball. I look for them to do it again in this one as they know it can work against Dallas. That means the defense needs to be on guard for the counter and the speed up front from the Sounders. They've slowed down some fast teams before this season and can do it again here.
This one won't be easy folks. Just like the first time Dallas went to Seattle, things weren't easy. But I do think having Jacobson, Ferreira, and John back in the line up compared to last time will be good. The big thing will be getting Perez involved. I think if Dallas can play their style on the wings and pressure early and often, things will go well for them. I just don't know if it will happen in this one though. At least the scoreless run should end though, that has to be the first thing that happens.
Score: Seattle 2, Dallas 1