FC Dallas currently lead the league, that’s the bad news. Good news: Seattle is 3-0-1 in midweek matches across all competitions. That draw even turned into a win via PKs against RSL. Seattle has played well having to run out either reserves or starters on short rest in comparison to other sides. Seattle will need to bench a few regular starters with a road match in Portland this weekend. Dallas plays Chicago, meaning they can play backups against the Windy City and still pickup three points. Seattle is looking to break a poor run, but this match will be a hard one to do it at.
Dallas is fast. They are not the most clinical. They are not the biggest. They will not maintain high amounts of possession or press well, but they are fast. FCD recovers wonderfully from making bad decisions and can counterattack with ease. Speedy wingers specifically allow them to charge down the sideline in a combined 77% of attacks. Michael Barrios and Fabian Castillo have speed. While they do not have the best crossing ability, both have no fear at taking a player on 1v1 to get to the box. Dylan Remick makes a bit better decisions as a defender and should be able to handle Barrios, though it’ll be problematic. Castillo will interchange with both Barrios and the striker but typically plays out left. Tyrone Mears will not be able to attack in this one or has to do so very sparingly. Mears is about two steps slower than Castillo, and while he has the tactical ability to shuffle Castillo out of the match, a player that fast and smart will find space.
The attack will find ways into the box and get shots at Frei’s goal. The question will be how focused can the fullbacks be and who is the CB. If Evans and Marshall start, they have the defensive awareness to help close down on a winger, but if Scott starts, we could see a few wide open shots. Expect Evans and Marshall and only one goal out of this high flying Dallas offense.
Defensively they give up about one goal a match with 24 from 20 matches. Seattle does not score to that level, as we know. Dallas’ best defense is that opposing fullbacks have to stay at home against them, meaning defending with eight/nine against six. A fourth of their goals conceded are from set pieces due to a lack of strength and height with a majority of their players. Seattle has great players for set piece delivery with Ivanschitz, Dempsey, and Kovar, but seem to miss the mark consistently as of late.
Seattle will have to use individual creativity to draw defenders and spring Morris into the final third. Dempsey will be marked out of the match just like against LA. It will take skill, pace, and awareness to get Morris behind a shoddy Zimmerman-led backline to find a goal.
Seattle is not designed to beat a team with speed. While SSFC love to hold possession, Dallas doesn’t care if they have 60%, 50% or 30% to win. The Sounders need as many players in the attack as possible, something they can’t do against FCD. I think (even with my waning optimism) that Seattle can win against Dallas. They need to win and have succeeded in mid-week games. Dallas doesn’t need to win, and in their perspective it is a trap game.
Seattle needs to capitalize on that trap game mentality and will eke out a 2-1 win that gives most of us a small heart attack.
FC Dallas: Seitz, Hollingshead, Hedges, Zimmerman, Figueroa, Gruezo, Acosta, Castillo, Diaz, Barrios, Urruti
Sounders: Frei, Mears, Evans, Marshall, Remick, Alonso, Friberg, Roldan, Morris, Dempsey, Kovar