Sounders FC @ FC Dallas
October 19, 2013, 11:30 am PT; Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas
TV/Radio: NBC; 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
When Sounders FC meets FC Dallas on Saturday afternoon at Toyota Stadium, it will be a matchup of two highly motivated teams that have very different factors sparking their competitive fire.
Where Seattle is looking to bounce back from a five-match winless streak and clinch a playoff spot, Dallas was eliminated last week from postseason contention and now has players up and down its lineup making cases for themselves for the 2014 season.
“Guys are playing for jobs. When a team doesn’t make the playoffs, players know that there is going to be changes probably coming down the line so everybody’s motivated to go out there and play,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “It doesn’t make the game any easier.”
A team ripe with talent, Dallas started the season on an incredible run that saw it race to the front of the pack in the West at 7-1-3. However, a winless stretch from June 1 to August 18 spanning 11 matches left Dallas reeling and last week a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Fire ended its hopes of making the playoffs.
If Head Coach Schellas Hyndman keeps his top group intact on Saturday, it’s a volatile team that includes the likes of forward Kenny Cooper (6 goals), 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira (3 goals, 9 assists) and Panamanian National Team forward Blas Perez (11 goals) in the attack and a defensive core of George John, Matt Hedges and goalkeeper Raul Fernandez. Those are the same players that led the charge in the club’s early-season run, but they weren’t able to maintain it and Sounders FC was able to exploit the weaknesses in the Dallas defense in two victories at CenturyLink Field.
In the first matchup on May 18, Seattle ended Dallas’ 11-match run to start the season with a 4-2 win, capitalizing on team speed for the dramatic result. Then on August 3, Sounders FC repeated the offensive strength while also shutting down Dallas defensively in a 3-0 win.
However, with Dallas potentially looking toward next season in the final two matches, Schmid isn’t sure what type of lineup to expect, though he does know that it will be a team ready for a battle.
“They’ll definitely come out looser and a little more relaxed and also full of fight,” Schmid said. “They’re upset that they didn’t make the playoffs and they’re playing for jobs.”
Seattle, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back from a humbling week that featured losses to the Colorado Rapids, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Portland Timbers. With two matches left to play in the regular season, Sounders FC is looking to clinch a playoff spot on Saturday and build some momentum heading into the postseason.
Seattle will close out the season against the LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field on October 27.