Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas
MLS Regular Season
Wednesday, May 7; 7 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: JOEtv (Locally, KZJO channel 22/cable 10); ROOT Sports (Regionally); KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)
Sounders FC enjoys the view from the top, but Sigi Schmid's team isn't about to be satisfied, and Wednesday's match against FC Dallas will be an opportunity to distance itself from the competition. Seattle leads Dallas by just three points in the standings, but how the two clubs arrived in their current standing has been two trains headed in opposite directions.
After starting the year at 4-0-1, Dallas has come back to earth and is just 1-3-0 since dropping a 3-2 result to Sounders FC on April 12. Seattle, on the other hand, has won four straight and is 4-0-1 and its last five matches to climb to the top of the MLS standings at 6-2-1.
"It's nice, but there's still a long way to go. The season has a lot of swings with it," Schmid said. "I think people should be happy and excited, but you can't get too high just like you can't get too low when it goes the other way."
In the previous meeting at Toyota Stadium, Dallas took a 1-0 lead, then a 2-1 lead in the first half only to see Seattle storm back through the stellar play of Clint Dempsey amidst his Etihad Airways Player of the Month performance.
After already netting a first-half goal, Dempsey had a pass redirected into the net for an own-goal, then scored on a ball from Chad Barrett for the game-winner in the 85th minute to get Seattle started on a four-game win streak.
Despite recent struggles, though, Seattle isn't about to take Dallas lightly. The second-highest scoring team in MLS behind Sounders FC, Dallas has 18 goals on the season, with 10 coming from corners, free kicks and penalties. With just one positive result in the last four matches, Head Coach Oscar Pareja will also have his squad hungry for a win against Seattle to get back on track and as an order of revenge from that prior meeting.
"Dallas is a tough team. They've got a lot of speed. They're very dangerous on set pieces," Schmid said. "They're going to be motivated and driven. Are they going to come out into the game more defensive in posture? I'm sure that's something Oscar will decide over the next few days."
Both teams enter the match with some question marks in the starting lineup for reasons beyond the short turnaround though.
Seattle will likely play without Dylan Remick at left back after he suffered an ankle sprain on Saturday, and with Leo Gonzalez working his way back from a hamstring strain, the left back position in doubt. How Schmid fills that hole will go a long way in determining the rest of the starting 11.
Dallas, meanwhile, won't have midfielders Je-Vaughn Watson and Mauro Diaz due to suspension and injury, respectively, and also lost right back Kellyn Acosta to injury in the last three weeks. Additionally, center back and Seattle native George John has yet to play this season.
Sounders FC doesn't mind the quick turnaround, though, eager to play the next match as soon as possible after reaching the top of the league with four straight wins.
"We feel good. We've been on a streak and this will be a huge one for us," Seattle's Lamar Neagle said. "I think winning makes everything easier and with the streak we've been on we just want to keep it going."
Kickoff for Wednesday's match is scheduled for 7 pm PT, with local television coverage on JOEtv (channel 22/cable 10) and regional coverage on ROOT Sports.