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May 25, 2011 at 12:40 AM

Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas, preview and prediction

FC Dallas Logo.jpgSounders FC (4-3-5) vs. FC Dallas (5-3-3)

Wednesday, May 25, 7 p.m., Qwest Field, Seattle, Wash.

Dual broadcast: KONG-TV 6/16, 97.3 KIRO FM (Arlo White and Erin Mayovsky)

Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3 FM

Referee: Baldomero Toledo

KEY DALLAS PLAYERS

GK Kevin Hartman — Hasn’t allowed a goal in 399 consecutive minutes. His five shutouts are tied for the MLS lead. But stats might not sum it up best. Many observers around the league thought he was the best goalkeeper of year in 2010. Not too mention he’ll be playing in front of his likeness on the upper-deck tarp.

D George John — The visitors come into Seattle led by the defense, and perhaps no one is more important to them than the Shoreline grad. I remember covering him at UW and he’s emerging as a star center back at this level. Injuries are in the past, and he’s played every single minute this season. Also someone to watch on set pieces.

M Daniel Hernandez — The heart of the Dallas side as its captain in the middle of the park. Like Osvaldo Alonso he’s often underappreciated for his work as a holding midfielder. Could be one to watch if Mauro Rosales is playing as an attacking midfielder again. Has gone back and forth between MLS and Mexico over the years.

KEY MATCHUPS

Fredy Montero vs. Ugo Ihemelu — The Nigerian-born Ihemelu is the svelter of the two Dallas center backs, so I’m figuring he gets paired up with Seattle’s DP forward most often. Montero had a quiet game Saturday and needs to start taking over games. Did well against Dallas last year, including that golazo on the free kick.

Marvin Chavez vs. Tyson Wahl — The Sounders left back has had success making runs up the flank, but Dallas’ speedy winger could make the home team pay if Wahl gets caught forward. Perhaps Leo Gonzalez comes back for this one? Either way, the Honduran has a team-high three assists and has made all 11 starts this season.

Four straight shutouts vs. 10 straight non-shutouts — Dallas isn’t letting anyone score recently. Seattle hasn’t been shut out since the two games in Week 1. Nevertheless, offensive cohesion was a point of emphasis for coach Sigi Schmid this week and the Sounders will need to be sharp to break through a defense that hasn’t conceded since May 1.

PREDICTION

Two quality teams, each without a quality attacking piece. Like the Sounders with Steve Zakuani, Dallas lost super playmaker David Ferreira to a bone-breaking reckless challenge. It’s probably not a big stretch to assume the action might be a bit deliberate.

The visitors will have to be exhausted for this midweek game. Sunday’s home game against Real Salt Lake went super long due to a thunder/lightning delay, not to mention a lengthy flight up here.

The fatigue factor is the reason I think Seattle is able to sneak out with the win.

Sounders FC 1, FC Dallas 0

SEA: Montero (Rosales, Friberg) 41′

* * *

What do you think? Three points coming tonight?

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