Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas
May 18, 2013, 7:30 pm PT, CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: KING 5; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; THIS-TV 4.2 (Spanish); La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
The Sounders host FC Dallas in a meeting of two of the hottest teams in MLS, a game that will undoubtedly see many heated duels on the field. Dallas offers a unique skill set in their players, with speed on the wings, size all over the field and a deft distributor in David Ferreira. With so much balance, it’s no wonder they are tops in the league at 7-1-3 this season.
Here are some of the matchups to watch for.
David Ferreira vs. Osvaldo Alonso
It is unclear whether or not Ferreira will be in the lineup for Dallas, but if he is, he will likely have Alonso shadowing him all match. The Colombian playmaker was the MVP of the league in 2010 when he posted eight goals and 13 assists. He got back to those masterful ways last year after suffering an injury in 2011 that knocked him out for most of the season. He handed out nine assists with two goals in just 17 matches last year and already has a goal and three assists in 10 matches this year. A hamstring injury suffered in a mid-week game last week had him out of Dallas’ match last Saturday against DC United, and while he may not start against Seattle, he is still a player that Sigi Schmid and the Sounders must be prepared to face.
Jackson and Fabian Castillo vs. DeAndre Yedlin and Leo Gonzalez
FC Dallas has speed on the flanks in Jackson and Castillo. They play a lot of 1v1 on the wings and Zach Loyd and Jair Bentiez press forward as well from the outside back positions. The two midfielders frequently swap sides, so Yedlin and Gonzalez will need to be savvy to the movement of those two. When they do regain possession, Dallas is often susceptible to the counter-attack, so re-distributing the ball quickly could result in quick scoring chances for the Sounders.
Eric Hassli, Kenny Cooper and Blas Perez vs. the Sounders defense
Most likely, only two of Hassli, Cooper and Perez will start on Saturday against Seattle, but all three are dangerous forwards with plenty of size. However, they aren’t the traditional bulky forwards. All three have considerable ability with the ball at their feet and use their size to their advantage in that capacity. That’s not to say they don’t also pose a threat on set-pieces and with Matt Hedges coming forward from his centerback spot and Andrew Jacobson also adding size in the midfield when he plays, the Sounders will have to be ready for a battle in dead-ball situations. Michel has proven early that he has no problem finding the heads of his teammates, too, so the Sounders will have to be wary of where they commit fouls.