Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas
MLS Regular Season
Saturday, April 12; 5:30 pm PT; Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas
TV/Radio: JOEtv (KZJO, channel 22/cable 10); KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; THIS-TV (KOMO2, Spanish); ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)
Like Sounders FC, FC Dallas has undergone a lot of changes from last season. The two clubs had very different seasons last year, but both were left with disappointment when the playoffs came around. Seattle had a slow start to the 2013 season, going winless in the first five matches, while FC Dallas started the year at 7-1-3 but missed the playoffs altogether. For Seattle, the bitter conclusion came with an early exit at the hands of the Portland Timbers.
Although things have changed in Frisco, Texas, FC Dallas has still started strong under new Head Coach Oscar Pareja, leading the Western Conference with a 4-0-1 record on the heels of a tremendous first month from playmaker Mauro Diaz, who earned Etihad Player of the Month honors with two goals and one assist.
“They’re a team that’s in good form right now. They’re playing really well,” Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey said. “We’ve been doing well on the road also and hopefully we can continue that going to Dallas and trying to get three points.”
Spoiling a hot start from Dallas would be nothing new for Seattle. Last year, FC Dallas was 7-1-3 and riding a nine-match unbeaten run when Sounders FC raced to a 4-2 victory at CenturyLink Field. Dallas won only four matches the rest of the way.
However, this is a different team under Pareja, who took over coaching duties after spending the last two seasons at the helm for the Colorado Rapids.
In addition to Diaz, Pareja has also brought out the talents of speedy winger Fabian Castillo and workhorse Je-Vaughn Watson. That has helped Dallas become the top scoring team in MLS with 13 goals through five matches.
“He’s done a good job with that team,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said.
“The emergence of Diaz this year has helped them. Last year, Ferreira was hot and cold with his play a little bit and they’ve replaced that with Diaz and other players are starting to mature. Certainly Castillo is more mature than he was last year as a player and Je-Vaughn Watson has gotten off to a hot start.”
That hot start was highlighted by a 4-1 win over the Houston Dynamo, as Dallas capitalized on a second-half red card to the Dynamo to net three goals in the final half-hour while playing with the man-advantage.
“They’re flying at the moment and coming off a big game against their rivals in Houston. I think we’ll be going up against a really confident team,” said Seattle forward Kenny Cooper, who played five seasons with FC Dallas, including last season. “It’s a team with a lot of speed, a lot of good experience and a lot of good players. We can expect a tough game.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s match is scheduled for 5:30 pm PT from Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.