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FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The rivalry with Seattle continues to evolve.

MLS: FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas traveled to Seattle Sunday night and left the game with a 2-1 loss. The result isn’t too terrible figuring we haven’t won in Seattle in forever. Seattle dominated possession but were still only able to score on two set pieces, the second of which was extremely lucky. Anytime a team scores on free kick that was sent into the box, missed everyone and still finds its way into the net, well you just have to tip your cap to how lucky the goal was. Overall, FC Dallas held their own well enough in the game and aren’t going to come back Dallas licking their wounds.

The Good

At this point, anytime FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders get together, there seems to be some kind of fireworks. Earlier in the year, Clint Dempsey was shown a red card for hitting Jacori Hayes in the downstairs pillows. For us FC Dallas fans, it appeared to be a clear red card, but to the Twitter warriors in Seattle, it was nothing more than Jacori performing an acting job against the totally innocent Clint Dempsey. It’s not like Clint hasn’t done something like that before after all (he has).

Sunday night had its own level of controversy as Reto Ziegler was shown a red card for apparently “slapping or punching” a Seattle player in the head. I’ve watched the highlight a couple of times and still can’t figure out what he exactly he did. He looks to throw a slap, but the video is very grainy.

All this craziness is just adding fuel to a fire between two teams who don’t really like each other. Playing each other three out of four years in the playoffs will have that effect on teams.

Rivalries are fun. They are what makes sports so great. Seattle can act like FC Dallas are their little brother’s all they want. However, dating back to 2014 Dallas has amassed a total of 262 points while the Sounders have only managed 248 points. In the last three seasons, Seattle has played about five months of convincing soccer. Luckily for them, they were able to get an MLS Cup out of it. A cup they won without registering a shot on target in the final.

It doesn’t look like this rivalry is going anywhere. There is actually a pretty good chance that we meet Seattle in the playoffs again this year. Maybe we will have a replay of 2015, when all of our players healthy.

The Bad

Ziegler has been terrific pickup for FC Dallas this year. He has slid in seamlessly beside Matt and has really added to the stability of backline. On top of that, he has scored penalty, direct free kick as well as an indirect free kick goal already this year. Reto has really had no problem adjusting to the league. The only issue that has hurt him is his inability to let things go.

Sunday night, Reto picked up his third red card of the season. Now with two of the three red cards, Reto has been sent off for retaliating to what an opposing players has done to him. In the first one, he felt like an opposing player kicked him while he was down. He wasn’t happy with it and decided to kick out at the player. The ref saw and he was sent to the locker room. Against Seattle, it was a similar play.

According to replays, it looked like Ruidiaz threw his head back and made contact with Reto face (also known as a head butt). Reto was not happy with it and retaliated and appeared to hit Ruidiaz a couple of times, possibly in the face. I don’t mean to belittle the retaliation of Reto, but it’s just really hard to see what he did. The video is very pixelated and kind of looks like it’s in fast forward.

FC Dallas has appealed the red card, but I doubt it gets rescinded. Unfortunately, Reto put his hands on an assistant referee as well as took his time to leave the field, pleading with Ted Unkle to go to VAR on the decision.

There are two frustrating things about all of this. First, if Reto’s suspension is upheld because of him touching an assistant referee, it will be maddening. Sure, he shouldn’t do it, but he was trying to get someone’s attention, begging them to look at VAR to see what really happened. The referees inability to take a step back and reassess the situation lead him to touching the AR. By no means am I advocating for players having the ability to put their hands on officials. What I am arguing for is responsibility to be held by multiple parties.

Secondly, Reto has now lost his cool twice and got red cards because of it. He’s got to take a step back in those moments. He can’t lash out against players who throw head butts because clearly he is the one who got punished. Also, in this league, if you even lift your hand to an opposing players face, they will go down as if they were stabbed. This is clearly all new to Reto. Hopefully he will get it figured out and we don’t have to worry about this anymore moving forward. Teams definitely now know that they can possibly wind up Reto and I would expect to try moving forward.

The Ugly

I really don’t like talking about referees. I feel like they have a terrible job and no matter what call they make during the game, half the players aren’t going to be happy with it. Now, when events like Sunday night happen, it has to be brought up. Ted Unkle was the primary referee Sunday evening. He allowed the game to played in a physical way, which is fine. As the game grew later and later, he slowly started losing control of it. Players were jawing back and forth with one another, they were going in a little harder for tackles and ultimately the physical nature of the match escalated. Fast forward to the last six minutes of the match and you the culmination of that. You have a player who throws a head butt, which isn’t seen (nothing wrong with missing that initially) and another player who appears to throw a punch or two (again, I have no idea). Instead of going to VAR in that instance, Ted decides that he is okay with his decision, even as the player who was sent off is begging for them to look at the replay. Add on top of that, he had plenty of time to take a look and appeared to be communicating with the booth via his earpiece. For whatever reason, he decided it was the right call.

Now, if that was all, that would be fine. The league would be able to retroactively add and remove red cards and we could all go on our merry little way. Unfortunately, that was the beginning of the circus. The next six minutes were spent down in by FC Dallas corner flag. There was arguing, pushing and shoving and ultimately, only about 35 seconds of four minutes of stoppage time were actually played. Again, instead of stepping in and extending stoppage time (which has been done repeatedly against FC Dallas this year) Ted decided that exactly four minutes was enough time and blew his whistle to end the game.

After the match, neither team seemed satisfied with how the game ended and they voiced their displeasure with other which lead to pushing and shoving as well as a lot of fingers being pointed in others faces. All of this could have been avoided if Ted would have just put his foot down 10 minutes earlier. Instead, he let a situation escalate out of control, to the point where it looked like beginning of wrestling pay per view event in the middle of the stadium.

FC Dallas is comes back home this weekend and will take on a Minnesota United side who has gotten significantly better. For Dallas, they could possibly be without Reto, which would be the second time this year he has missed the Minnesota match because of a red card suspension. The game won’t be an easy one, but hopefully Dallas is able to get back to winning ways.