There are two big questions surrounding the Seattle Sounders Sunday Night (6:30 p.m) Western Conference Semifinal Leg 1 match against FC Dallas at Century Link Field. The first is now what ? Now what, as in the Sounders finally dispatched the LA Galaxy in a playoff series. After three consecutive playoff series, the fourth time was a charm as Seattle beat the defending MLS Champions 3-2 in last wednesday nights winner take all game in Seattle.
As the old saying goes, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. What the Sounders will be getting in Sundays Leg 1 of a two legged series, will be a hot FC Dallas team that is riding a three-game winning streak and a five-game undefeated run overall. The last time FC Dallas lost a game was September 27th (2-3) in LA. An impressive streak that has FC Dallas Coach Oscar Pareja believing his team is peaking at the right time.
“Every game mattered a lot and I have to prize these guys. … All of those games, away, and we had massive games here at home with Houston, with Vancouver and against San Jose. Every single game was a game that just put us in that playoff mode, so for me to see a team with that personality is very encouraging, ” Pareja told mlssoccer.com
The other question for the Rave Green and probably the biggest one, is who will be at full strength and able to play. Star midfielder Ozzie Alonso missed Wednesday’s game against the Galaxy due to a groin injury, while Captain Brad Evans picked up a hamstring injury late in the game adding insult to injury due to the fact that Evans was playing left back because defender Leo Gonzalez had left the game due to a leg injury. While the defensive casualties are off great concern to Sounders head coach Sigi Schmidi, the veteran coach is taking a wait a see attitude regarding his starting eleven.
“All our injury situations are sort of a day-to-day type of thing at this point of the year in the playoffs,” Schmid said. “You can’t really look at timelines. Guys are going to say, ‘Yeah, I’m ready to go,’ or ‘I’m not ready to go.’”
The two Western Conference foes are no strangers to each other. This will be the second straight year the two teams will battle for a spot in the Western Conference Championships. Seattle tied FC Dallas1-1 in Leg one in Dallas and advanced by playing a goal less draw at home to advance.
As for this season , the two teams played to a goal less draw March 28th in Dallas and Seattle had the lone win in the season series with a June 13th 3-0 win at Century Link Field. Despite the score lines, the two teams matches have always featured hard fought wide open games due to both teams having formidable front lines, stout backlines as well as creative and innovative midfielders. While the dynamic duo of Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey is known far and wide, FC Dallas will attack from it’s left side using the speed, and ingenuity of Fabian Castillo coupled with the vision and pace of Mauro Diaz who will occupy the nine position. Up front ready to receive the ball will be Uruguayan striker David Texeira.