The weekend is in full effect here but we’re still getting you set for tomorrow’s FC Dallas game at the Seattle Sounders. Today we welcome back Dave Clark from Sounder at Heart to help preview tomorrow’s game.
BDS: The last time we spoke Seattle was in the middle of a weird string of draws, that included another one against FC Dallas. Since then the Sounders have lost two of three. Is there any panic setting in among the Sounder faithful that they might be backing into the post season?
SaH: It's not panic. Instead it is more legitimate concern. There were always holes in this team, there are holes in every team. Those holes opened up a few times this season (three straight blowout losses on the road in the Spring, the past two months where draws are the most common result). The depth issues that created those early season losses are gone. Now, the issue is with having a top three defense, but a midtable attack. That can do well, but doing well is not the standard in Seattle.
BDS: Seattle has always had their way with Dallas at home over the years, what would you say is the main factor in that dominance at home?
SaH: I've struggled with this one. We know how Sounders blew out FCD last year. There was a subpar lineup put forth and Nicolas Lodeiro went off. But that was a single match. The whys of long-term dominance are different, and likely unknowable. It probably relates to travel and large crowds. That's a bit of a cop-out, but Dallas doesn't often come to places with 40k plus. It may just be that little bit extra that pushes Seattle over them regularly. Or it just could be MLS road performances are generally bad.
BDS: What are some keys that Seattle will focus in on this weekend as they look to push closer to securing a playoff spot?
SaH: All of the questions focus on the offense. For the amount of talent on the roster, the attack just doesn't perform well enough. Without Jordan Morris the team lacks a speed dimension. Their possession game cannot merely be clock management. It must result in goals, whether through quick triggers or patient lateral movement. If the Seattle offense can get to the top third in production (rather than just expectation) this is a team that can go on a deep run. If not they likely do not make the Western Conference Finals.
Lineup prediction: Stefan Frei; Joevin Jones, Chad Marshall, Roman Torres, Kelvin Leerdam; Cristian Roldan, Gustav Svensson; Victor Rodriguez, Harry Shipp, Nicolas Lodeiro; Clint Dempsey