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August 20, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas, preview and prediction

FC Dallas Logo.jpgSounders FC (11-5-9) vs. FC Dallas (12-6-7)

Saturday, Aug. 20, 6 p.m., Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas

TV: KONG-TV 6/16 (Arlo White, Erin Mayovsky)

Spanish TV/radio: THIS-TV/KOMO 4.2 (Comcast ch. 114), La Gran D 99.3 FM

Referee: David Gantar

KEY DALLAS PLAYERS

GK Kevin Hartman — Should become the MLS leader in games played tonight at 379, breaking a deadlock with Steve Ralston. Still in amazing form with a league-leading 12 shutouts. With Kasey Keller coming to town it’s a big matchup between two veteran goalkeepers. Who will shine brightest?

M Brek Shea — A lot of attention has been on George John’s potential transfer to Blackburn, but here’s another young star that could be off to Europe soon. His 10 goals are a team high and rank near the top of the MLS leaderboard. Got the winner in Seattle in the teams’ previous meeting.

D Ugo Ihemelu — To bring John back into the discussion, he’s suspended for today’s game, and a lot of that defensive responsibility will fall on his center back partner. Perhaps a little underrated around MLS, but he’ll have a chance to prove his worth tonight.

KEY MATCHUPS

Shea vs. James Riley — In that May 25 game in Seattle, coach Sigi Schmid marked Zach Scott on the Dallas wunderkind, but due to injury issues in the back I’m thinking Riley will be at right back with Scott in the middle. Riley might have the speed to keep up with Shea, but will be at a disadvantage physically.

Fredy Montero vs. Daniel Hernandez — This is obviously a big game and the Sounders will need its big star to show up. Dropping into midfield he should run across Dallas’ enforcer in the middle. Will Fredy be affected by what will surely be some physical play or will he fight through it and lead?

Sigi Schmid vs. Schellas Hyndman — Both coaches have to manage their roster this week after midweek CCL games, so who finds the right formula? The 100-degree heat will only make some of those decisions more difficult. And, of course, tactics will be important too.

PREDICTION

This one’s tough. There are a lot of variables in this bout between two seemingly even-matched teams. I do think the crowded fixtures and heat will set up for a fairly deliberate and defensive-minded game. We might even see a some mandated water breaks.

Goals have seemingly become harder to find for the Sounders in league games and tonight might be the most difficult task. I’m not sure I see Seattle breaking through. Woes in Texas continue.

FC Dallas 1, Sounders FC 0

FCD — Maicon Santos (Marvin Chavez) 56′

* * *

What do you think? Points going to be hard to come by?

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