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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting the Seattle Sounders

The final road game of the regular season is a must-win.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas approaches it final away game of the regular season after a mediocre draw in Colorado. Meanwhile, Seattle has had two weeks to adjust after a 2-0 loss in Philadelphia?

This is the Season

It is do-or-die for FC Dallas this weekend. The playoff race is close in the West, and with Houston dragging themselves a few points clear on Wednesday that leaves one spot between Dallas, San Jose, and Real Salt Lake.

For Seattle this game is all about playoff positioning and momentum. Seattle could with a little luck, still find themselves anywhere from first to eighth in the West depending on how things shake out. More than likely they have made the playoffs, but with SKC just one point ahead in second, they’ll be eyeing that bye week hungrily.

Potential Lineup

Seattle is missing Brad Evans, Jordan Morris and Calum Mallace this week.

GK: Stefan Frei; LB: Joevin Jones; CB: Chad Marshall, Roman Torres; RB: Kelvin Leerdam; CM: Nicolas Lodeiro, Gustav Svensson, Osvaldo Alonso; RW: Christian Roldan; LW: Alvaro Fernandez; FW: Clint Dempsey.

Key Matchup

Mauro Diaz vs. Osvaldo Alonso. Super Mauro is finally starting to look himself this year and any success this team cooks up in a tough road contest will surely be up to him. Diaz will be beaten and battered by the end of the night going up against Alonso, who is notorious for his fouling. If Diaz can control the tempo of the game, he could drag Dallas out of Seattle with points. For Alonso the objective is pretty simple, mitigate Diaz ability to run things by sitting on him and hacking him off the ball. I’ll be surprised if we see anything different.

Keys to Three Points

Taking Chances.

Dallas has failed time and time again this season to put away their chances. A team trying to get into the playoffs has to be more clinical, and one that makes the playoffs will have no chance if it can’t finish. This team needs to turn sure things into goals, and they just haven’t done that enough this year.

No Silly Lapses in Concentration.

Staying focused will be key for both these sides. This game could get chippy, if someone loses their head and gets sent off, it will alter the entire dynamic of the match. This could be a death knell for Dallas and should be avoided at all costs.

Set Pieces.

Dallas has failed to do anything good with set-pieces this year, despite often having decent service. This game could be just the time to key in on that area. If Dallas can turn a few corners into some high quality chances then maybe they can sneak out of Seattle with a point or three. Though if I were a betting man, I’d say they continue to be awful at set-pieces.