Bitterness lingers inside the FC Dallas team heading into Saturday's contest against Seattle at Toyota Stadium.
The Sounders eliminated FCD from the 2014 MLS Playoffs through the away-goals rule. As Dallas hosts with a league-leading 3-0-0 record, the team will be challenged from a Sounders' squad missing a few key players.
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is out due to a groin injury.
USA poster-boy Clint Dempsey was called up to the USMNT but returned to Seattle due to injury. The Sounders will be without him and Guatemalan star Marco Pappa. Pappa joins FCD's Moises Hernandez for Guatemala.
A classic 4-4-2 is probable going into Frisco.
GK: Stefan Frie; LB: Leo Gonzalez; CB: Brad Evans, Chad Marshall; RB: Tyrone Mears; LM: Lamar Neagle; CM: Gonzalo Pineda, Micheal Azira; RM: Cristian Roldan; F: Obafemi Martins, Chad Barrett
Matt Hedges, Atiba Harris vs. Martins - The thrilling Sounders' strikers poses the biggest threat to a shaky FCD backline. Sure, Dallas has not conceded goals in two of the opening three games, but Martins definitely raises an eyebrow. He's had three shots and three shots on goal with two goals to his name. He can break down a Atiba Harris and will strongly compete against the glue that keep the backline together in Hedges.
Keys to Three Points
Get Texeira Involved. With FCD leading scorer Blas Perez away on international duty, the Hoops have to ping the ball around upfront and continue that offensive threat. David Texeira will get his first start on the season. In three games played and started, he has netted three goals on five shots for FCD. Hopefully he can continue that success against Seattle. And if Michel wants to make some runs and get himself another goal versus Seattle or convert a penalty, he can do that too. Michel has four goals and three assists in five games against the Sounders.
Defend the left side. Michel will likely start at leftback with Castillo playing in front of him. Two well talented players, but with Hernandez being a wall at that position thus far, Michel has big shoes to fill for this game. Luckily, Seattle's Barrett doesn't have much touches on the season. He'll fill in for Dempsey on Saturday. Barrett has played only 18 minutes and no shots on the season. Michel will set the tone early that he will control his side and won't let Barrett pose a threat.
Possession Battle. Seattle might have lost its game last week to San Jose 3-2, but if the game was based off possession, the Sounders would have blown the Earthquakes out the water. Seattle won 63.1 percent to 36.9 while FCD manage only an eight percent advantage over Philadelphia Union in its 2-0 win. Dallas should be able to keep control with its talented midfield backed by Mauro Diaz. If Dallas controls the ball well in the midfield, the team will be on its way to its fourth straight win.