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Seattle Sounders at FC Dallas: Three Questions

JOEtv and Univision-Seattle are broadcasting the 2 PM game on Sunday the 16th of October.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams have a lot to play for in the final two weeks of the regular season. FC Dallas can still win the Supporters’ Shield. They just need the Rapids to drop points and to catch Colorado. Seattle Sounders can clinch the playoffs with a win or if the Portland Timbers do not win against the Rapids. Each of Seattle and Dallas will lack a key starter due to cards in their last game. Dallas is without left back Maynor Figueroa. Seattle will play without Osvaldo Alonso.

Drew from Big D Soccer answers Three Questions.

SaH: How will Dallas deal with the loss of Maynor Figueroa?

BDS: More than likely the club will give Aubrey David a start to fill in the gap for Figueroa's suspension. Normally we'd see someone like Ryan Hollingshead get the start in this kind of game but David is suspended for FCD's Champions League game next week down in Guatemala, so it seems natural for Oscar Pareja to make this kind of switch and have a three-man rotation for this game, that one and next week's finale at LA when Figueroa comes back from suspension.

Thankfully David is the type of player that can fill in nicely on the Dallas back line when he is called upon. The Saprissa-loanee has done well in a few starts this season and has proven to be able to handle the types of offenses that MLS has to throw at him.

SaH: Is Oscar Pareja targeting the Shield, or is skipping the play-in round good enough?

BDS: The goal is still the Shield. Having the bye in the first round was huge for sure given the amount of games this team has already played this season but they know there is still in the running for the Shield. Pareja has preached playing one game at a time here too and that mentality has worked well at allowing this group not to look ahead too much to games like next week's finale. Two wins to close out the season puts a lot of pressure on the Rapids to do the same.

SaH: How has the offense without Fabian Castillo developed?

BDS: It has taken a little time but this team does well at playing with a chip on their shoulders. Mauro Diaz has stepped up well in a MVP-type season. He and Maxi Urruti have formed a great connection both on and off the field. Michael Barrios is still a big threat from the wings and former Sounder Mauro Rosales has started to do well in a starting role late in the season.

This offense has always done well at spreading the wealth too. Guys like defenders Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman do well to get into the attack on set pieces.

Projected lineup: Chris Seitz, Aubrey David, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Atiba Harris, Carlos Gruezo, Kellyn Acosta, Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, Mauro Rosales, Maxi Urriti

BDS: The turnaround this summer has been impressive to say the least. Has it been more about the coaching change, the addition of Lodeiro, or a combination of a few things?

SaH: The team would have done better with either of the single changes. Sigi Schmid, when he had three dynamic players won a lot of soccer games, particularly with the Sounders. Adding Lodeiro to Dempsey and Morris would have done that. But, it wouldn't have been like this. What's happened is down right extraordinary. The 7-1-4 +8 record since the addition of Lodeiro and hiring of Schmetzer has to be about both of them. Schmetz is winning with just Morris and Lodeiro now, and even in games where Nico isn't performing at an MVP level. The players bought into Brian Schmetzer's attitude that they, the players, own the team's performance.

BDS: Speaking of Lodeiro, talk about how he has changed this team for the better since joining back in the summer?

SaH: Most MLS players have a key attribute, or maybe two, or those that are on the US National Team and similar have three. Lodeiro's list of assets are similar to what MVPs have. His set-piece service is decent. His ability to thread a throughball is among the best in the league. He provides defense in attacking areas as good as anyone in the league. When a shot comes available he takes it, often converting, but always dangerous. He can switch the attack on a one-touch ball. Nico's the kind of player you create when you play a sports video game and want the Mary Sue action, except he's real.

Nicolas Lodeiro is not coasting while in MLS, instead he's taking the opportunity to further cement himself in the Uruguay National Team while winning trophies in his new league.

BDS: The result on Wednesday had to be a little disappointing to not clinch, how do the Sounders replace Alonso and Ivanschitz?

SaH: Without Osvaldo Alonso the Sounders will need to look to a strong performance from Erik Friberg. Cristian Roldan can handle the increased pressure. His development this year is a key to the season, and Seattle's future. But Friberg will need to be measured in his runs forward, stronger in tackling while his long passing should be a bit more featured than typical. A match without Andreas Ivanschitz is a bit tougher, as it means that his set-piece delivery is gone. Schmetzer will look to some combination of Brad Evans, Herculez Gomez and Aaron Kovar for the wider midfielders. That combination offers more defense than Ivanschitz/Fernandez, but they will lack in possession and creation. That will put more attacking pressures on Friberg, Lodeiro and maybe the fullbacks.

Projected lineup: Stefan Frei; Joevin Jones, Chad Marshall, Roman Torres, Tyrone Mears; Cristian Roldan, Erik Friberg; Herculez Gomez, Nicolas Lodeiro, Brad Evans; Jordan Morris