Editorial (March 17, 2018) – For the first time in a while, two Western Conference powerhouses look vulnerable. With a big matchup on Sunday, FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders FC looks to be a pivotal match for both sides. Recent struggles and injuries have both teams looking to regain their top form for the 2018 season.
Weekend Preview: FC Dallas vs Seattle
Still brushing off the 2017 cobwebs, FC Dallas look to capitalize this weekend in a rivalry match up with Seattle. Both sides struggled in the first week: Dallas barely earning a point against Real Salt Lake, while Seattle fell to expansion team Los Angeles FC 2-1. There will definitely be some key match ups this weekend, especially for a bruised and battered Seattle side.
Seattle Ups and Downs
A team fresh off back-to-back MLS Cup finals, Seattle looked ready to move forward in the CONCACAF Champions League after a 1-0 victory at home. Unfortunately, they were overrun and overpowered in the second leg. A side already without several key players due to injury, Seattle could not afford to lose anyone else. Within minutes, Will Bruin took a nasty head-to-head collision and had to come off. Later in the first half, center back Chad Marshall took a knock and had to be subbed off as his eye swelled shut.
Substitutions were made, and it all seemed to come crashing down not much later. Chivas were held scoreless until the early 2nd half, when a beautifully struck free kick flew past Stefan Frei. The game was basically done at that point, as Chivas put away 2 more away for a comfortable victory.
It seemed the Sounders would go with the A-team in Mexico and come back to Texas with the B squad. Knowing it’s still early in the season, Seattle could afford resting players. Instead, they will now be forced more than willing to play with their B squad. Jordan Morris successfully underwent surgery today and will miss the remainder of the season as expected.
Will Bruin and Chad Marshall are surely out now as well. Depending on how long they will be out, this Seattle side will be heavily relying on bench players. Osvaldo Alonso has been out and could be out Sunday as well, rounding out injuries from back line, midfield, to the front line of attack. After their visit to Frisco, TX, the Sounders will reluctantly have a week off before they returning home to face Montreal.
Dallas Look to Capitalize
FC Dallas, also now being out of CCL competition, will look to take advantage of a weakened Seattle side. Dallas will still be missing Kellyn Acosta who underwent a successful hernia surgery, but should see the return of newly signed left-back Anton Nedyalkov.
The fresh face for Dallas has looked good defensively as well as pushing up in the attack, and will give Oscar Pareja a little more wiggle room with his lineup. Tesho Akindele will miss the next two matches after being called up to the Canadian National Team for friendlies, so we should expect Santiago Mosquera to fly down the wings opposite of Michael Barrios.
What to Watch For: Maxi Urruti & The Attack
Maximiliano Urruti has been a force for his Dallas side since coming over from Portland. Seattle knows him all too well, and he will look to drive at a weakened and tired defense. His ability to track back and win the ball and force turnovers is crucial to the Dallas attack. If Dallas look to play a two-striker formation, look for Cristian Colmán to sit up top while Urruti plays more of a false No. 9.
Dallas has struggled since the loss of Fabian Castillo, but Santi Mosquera is looking to fill in nicely. Now that Dallas is back to speed on both wings and a solid #9 up top, they will look to catch Seattle on the counter any chance they get.
Despite a tape delay for Dallas residence, FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders should be the match to watch Sunday. A lot of new history with these sides creates an exciting matchup for any spectator. Two sides looking for the same thing in different mindsets: a win. Dallas wanting to leave the past behind and get back to winning ways. Seattle look to keep their past relevant, and remain a top contender for the 2018 MLS Cup. It’s early in the season, but this is a pivotal match for both.