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What we watching for as FC Dallas takes on Seattle Sounders

FC Dallas looks to continue their unbeaten run as they host the newly crowned Concacaf Champions.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend is upon us here as FC Dallas is back at home. This time we’ll get to see a newly crowed Concacaf Champions League winner in the Seattle Sounders.

Here are a couple of brief items I will be keeping watch on this weekend as FC Dallas looks to extend their unbeaten run to eight games.

Don’t overlook their rotation

During Wednesday’s media call, FC Dallas manager Nico Estevez said his club could only focus on themselves and not what the Sounders pulled off on Wednesday night.

“Above all, we have to be able to interpret what the opponent shows us,” said Estevez. “Think about ourselves and, from there, play our game to be able to get the win.”

Easier said than done with a Seattle team that is going to come into Frisco on an absolute crazy high from winning the Champions League crown for the first time. This is a deep group that has shown that after a CCL party they can go on the road and pick up points with a heavily-rotated group. They did it last season in Austin when they started several young teenagers and they’ve found points after CCL games this season.

Still, we know a few things already about who won’t be there for Seattle. Midfielder Joao Paulo will miss the weekend contest after leaving Wednesday’s match with a possible ACL tear. Their starting left back Nouhou suffered a thigh contusion and is unlikely to make the trip as well.

Push the envelope with Velasco

From what we’ve seen in recent weeks, good things come to FC Dallas’ attack when Alan Velasco is more involved. I’m not just talking about the ridiculous free kick goal against Sporting KC last weekend, but more so that when he gets himself a little more centrally involved, the attack finds some new life.

Look back at the win over Houston and even some of the draws in New York and Kansas City. What we’re seeing a bit more here is Velasco is being asked to go centrally into the midfield from his wing position and draw out defenders to help free up either Paul Arriola or Jesus Ferreira. An example of this working was the goal from Ferreira against SKC last weekend:

What you see towards the end of the play is Velasco comes more central into the penalty box as a way to offer up an option for Ferreira but in doing so, he also draws in a defender or two to help Ferreira free up space for himself to shot on goal.

This movement out of Velasco is also relieving some pressure on Paxton Pomykal to be the main playmaker on the team too. I think over time we’re going to get more of this as well, which should only bring good results.

Ride the wave at home

While some recent wins at home haven’t exactly been pretty, they’ve at least been consistent in the fact that we’re seeing FC Dallas pick up wins at home this season. That kind of momentum continues to build and we need another one here this week before the club goes out on the road for a couple of west coast games this month.

This weekend we’ll get to see an early preview of the summer weather too. Temperatures at set to be in the 90s and with that kind of heat, we’re going to get a better sense of what this team can do at home in the stadium that I’ve often called “The Oven”. Given Seattle’s busy and emotional week, finding a way to stretch them out and exhaust them with the weather may be a nice course of action as well for Estevez.

But with that, I do suggest everyone that is in the stands to stay as hydrated as possible here. These high temps are no joke and given that we’re going to get them in early May is not a welcome sight for me. But I guess it is better than 30 degrees like we had in the season opener?