Sounders FC (14-7-11) vs. FC Dallas (9-12-11)
Sunday, Oct. 21, 6 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
National TV: ESPN (Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman, Alexi Lalas)
Radio: KIRO 97.3-FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
KEY DALLAS PLAYERS
M David Ferreira — The team’s assist leader with seven, though he only has one in his last five games. Make no mistake, this is a different team with him in the lineup: Dallas is 6-3-6 this season in games he’s played and 3-9-5 when he didn’t. Won MLS MVP in 2010, but suffered a serious ankle injury in 2011 that kept him out until halfway through this season.
F Blas Perez — The team’s leading scorer with eight goals despite starting just 17 games. Drew particular praise from Sounders FC assistant coach Brian Schmetzer, who will be in charge in place of the suspended Sigi Schmid. “I like Blas Perez; He’s a quality player,” Schmetzer said of the Panamanian. He’s also coming into this one hot with three goals in his last two games.
D Matt Hedges — Dallas has had some injuries in the back, but the rookie out of North Carolina has been very consistent having started the last 20 games. In the discussion for MLS Rookie of the Year. Surprisingly has three goals this season, which is as many as Brek Shea, if you’d believe it. Oh yeah, he’s also 6 foot 4.
Mauro Rosales vs. Jair Benitez — The Sounders captain has been stuck on 13 assists since August, so you know he’s due for one. The matchup might be favorable here since Benitez is an attack-minded left back that can get caught forward at times. Benitez also isn’t the biggest guy in the league, so you might not have to fear overly physical play.
Fabian Castillo vs. Marc Burch — The Dallas speedster spent a lot of time on the right side versus Chivas USA last week, meaning the defensive assignment will likely fall heavily on Seattle’s veteran reserve. The young Colombian scored in three-straight games for Dallas in August, but hasn’t since in sporadic playing time. I think he gets the start Sunday.
FC Dallas in the hunt vs. FC Dallas out of the hunt — The visitors’ slim playoff chances could be alive or dead by kickoff. If Vancouver beats Portland in a 4 p.m. game Sunday, Dallas is officially out of the playoff race, meaning the edge might be off by the 6 p.m. kickoff at CenturyLink Field. Nothing the Sounders can control here, but it might be a factor.
The Sounders will be without its head coach, but otherwise close to full strength in this one. Eddie Johnson, Adam Johansson and Mario Martinez are all back from international duty. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Steve Zakuani are improving from injuries that kept them out Wednesday.
A full strength home team with hopes of securing the No. 2 seed will be tough to beat in this one. Even if Dallas has hopes of a playoff berth, I don’t think they’ll be able to keep up.
Will Seattle earn its fourth-straight shutout? Not sure I see that one happening…
Sounders FC 2, FC Dallas 1
SEA — Brad Evans (pk) 19′
SEA — Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales) 44′
FCD — Blas Perez (Ricardo Villar) 78′
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How do you see this one playing out?