FC Dallas went into free fall shortly after they were crushed by Seattle Sounders FC back in the Spring. It is now time for the Rave Green to travel down to Frisco and get a powerful road result and right their own ship. National TV again has the match, whether the star power will keep the eyeballs will depend on the lineups and if Sigi can get the fast start he desires.
Alfredo is our guide to Three Questions. BigDSoccer has all your Toros news.
SaH: With Dallas' well known players out wide is that a strength or weakness of the team?
BDS: It's a double-edged sword. It's easy to forget about the middle of the park if the opposing team focuses out wide, but Dallas has trouble creating things through the middle of the pitch when Ferreira isn't on his game. Ferreira hasn't been on his game for quite a while, and I'm sure Sigi and company have this team well scouted at the moment.
SaH: FCD set-play magic has damaged Seattle in the past. Is it as strong as it was?
BDS: With Dallas' set-piece specialist, Michel, mostly relegated to polishing the bench, it's going to be hard to replicate any kind of set piece delivery that is consistently threatening. Another olimpico is completely out of the question.
Pretty much nothing is as strong as it was right now. This team is a ghost of its former self, which is fitting considering Halloween is in a couple of weeks.
At least ghosts are scary. Dallas won't scare many people at the moment unless they're easily frightened by stripes.
SaH: Reader Chris wants to know what Sounders FC bench player you find most concerning? Since many starters look injured.
BDS: I'm less concerned about the Sounders bench because at this point, Dallas' worst enemy is the themselves. That being said, I don't know if Steve Zakuani is still going to be coming off the bench for Seattle, but he always causes problems for defenses. He might not be a very good finisher, but it doesn't make him less of a problem to deal with.
Absences/Lineup: The projected lineup is hazy, because Hyndman has decided it's more of a game of roulette than anything else at this point, but the big absences that are expected are George John and Mauro Diaz, who are both injured enough that they may not see any more minutes for the rest of the season.
SaH: Twice in a row the club went up against a strategy with which it usually struggles - the bunker and counter. These losses were worse than usual bunker-counter losses for two reasons. First, I think that Seattle Sounders FC tried to push the game and recover an even game state quickly. That brought numbers forward and made them even weaker on the counter. Second the men countering were young, athletic types that can quickly blow by a single defender when on an island. They did. Often.The scorelines were horrible, but they did not relate to other losses (excepting the LA 4-0) in any other way.
BDS: It seems that Seattle has had several injury problems this year. Obafemi Martins might actually be an injury disguised as a human, and even Clint Dempsey has struggled, just to name a few. How have the bench players performed in their absence throughout the season. How would you rate Seattle's depth going into the playoffs?
SaH: Considering how infrequently the first choice lineup has played the depth should be fine. The depth is what had Seattle poised to win the Supporters' Shield and still with an outside shot at making it. The most significant depth player on the year has been Lamar Neagle. It might be odd saying that a 25 start, 8 goal and 3 assist man is a depth player, but his role on the squad when, Clint, Oba and EJ are all healthy is unknowable. Andy Rose, Servando Carrasco and Adam Moffat have all gotten time in the central midfield. Moffat's role is still be determined. Marc Burch should not be overlooked. The left back is actually a pretty darn good left mid within Sigi's system and deserves to start there more because of how he's suited for the role rather than his talent level.
BDS: The season is almost over. How would Sounders fans rate this season? What are the highs, the lows, and who is your current vote for Sounders MVP?
SaH: Incomplete? These last two games could see Seattle in 6th in the West or with the Shield. Then there's the whole Playoffs thing.
The high point was when the signed Clint Dempsey. National media missed it but the winning streak was wrapped around that moment. To go from 7th in the West to the best in the League while signing the USMNT Captain is pretty awesome.
The low is those eight days of 10-2 drubbing.
The MVP on the team is so tight right now several players could win it with performances at the end of the month.
Absences/Lineup: Hopefully an update later today.