Sounders FC (6-1-1) vs. FC Dallas (3-4-3)
Wednesday, May 9, 5:30 p.m., FC Dallas Stadium, Frisco, Texas
TV: KONG 6/16 (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)
Radio: Nothing in English
Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
KEY DALLAS PLAYERS
GK Kevin Hartman — Amid injuries and suspensions, he’s a constant. Turns 38 years old this month, but is still playing at a high level and owns the MLS records in wins and shutouts for goalkeepers. Coach Sigi Schmid will know him well from shared time at UCLA and the Los Angeles Galaxy. Can he get the better of a matchup vs. a youngster in Bryan Meredith?
M Jackson — Was recalled last month from his loan with Brazilian first division side Cruzeiro. We’ve seen him play a lot as a wide midfielder, but he’s even seen some time at forward. With Blas Perez suspended, might we see his return up top? I haven’t seen any reference to that (just speculation). Either way, expect him to have a role somewhere in the attack.
D Zach Loyd — Versatile and talented, he can play in a number of positions and have a solid impact. Expect him to play at right back, where he can run the line and have a two-way presence. Potential that has seen him come in and out of U.S. national team camp the past few years. It’ll be interesting to see who Seattle plays on the left side against him.
Eddie Johnson vs. George John — This is a bit of a homecoming for Johnson, who began his professional and MLS career in Dallas. He’ll face a center back that has to physical tools to match his size, strength and speed in the Shoreline native. A clash of talent that should be fun to watch. A lot of defensive responsibility will fall in John with Ugo Ihemelu out with concussion symptoms.
Andrew Jacobson vs. Brad Evans — The Dallas midfielder has started eight games in midfield, which is about the most of players who aren’t suspended or hurt. The 26-year-old out of Cal will have to hold his own in the middle against Seattle’s duel-winner and organizer. Evans got last weekend off, so should be eagerto go.
Dallas depth vs. Sounders fatigue — It seemed initially like it might be the day for a busy stretch to catch up to Seattle. Even if the visitors field a strong side, the miles traveled and games played will surely be a factor. Right? The trouble for FCD is it’s also missing a bunch of quality, especially in midfield.
In the locker room after Saturday’s win, Mauro Rosales wore a telling smile as he said they’ll have to see if he’s ready for another start in Dallas. He had started the previous three games in an eight-day stretch. To me, the smile indicated he might be coming off the bench in this one.
Needless to say, the Sounders’ offense isn’t the same without him and hasn’t been able to come close to last year’s leauge-best production. FCD is fighting to stay relevant in the Western Conference race and will be motivated. If Brek Shea is able to go, even a late-game sub, it’ll be interesting.
I’ve picked against the Sounders a couple times, but it’s hard to keep justifying that. Good teams find ways to win…
Sounders FC 1, FC Dallas 0
SEA: Osvaldo Alonso (Fredy Montero) 77′
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How do you see this one playing out?