Sounders FC (15-11-6) vs. FC Dallas (10-11-11)
Saturday, Oct. 19, 11:30 a.m., Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Tex.
National TV: NBC (John Strong, Robbie Earle)
Radio: KIRO 97.3 FM/SiriusXM FC (channel 94)
Referee: Ismail Elfath
KEY DALLAS PLAYERS
F Blas Perez — The team’s leading scorer boasts 11 goals, which is tied for seventh best in the league this season. The Panamanian international also might be playing with a chip on his shoulder after the U.S. ended his country’s World Cup dreams in heartbreaking fashion earlier this week. He’s got five goals in his last seven starts, so he’s been on a good run, as well.
M David Ferreira — The 2010 MLS MVP has finally been able to put a full and healthy season together coming off a devastating injury a couple years ago. He hasn’t quite reached the peak of those talents, but nine goals is still pretty impressive. Has hit a bit of a dry spell as we get to the end of the campaign, though he did record an assist last week in a loss to Chicago.
D Matt Hedges — The second-year center back out of North Carolina leads the team in starts (30) and minutes (2,658), also the co-leader in games (31). Definitely has intimidating size at 6 foot 4, and that’s proven useful on offense, as well, as he already has five league goals in his career. Pretty composed for a young guy; he has only been booked twice as a professional.
Fabian Castillo vs. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — The young Dallas forward has played 31 games this season and has only two goals (none since May), but speed is always dangerous, and the Sounders back line has proven susceptible to it (Kekuta Manneh, anyone?). Hurtado had seemingly regained his top form from 2009 but was one of the main culprits in a defensive meltdown.
Clint Dempsey vs. Andrew Jacobson — I’m expecting Dempsey traveled despite the shoulder injury. He was able to play on it Sunday, plus a dog on Twitter told me he did. He’ll be needed if Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson weren’t able to travel, as social media suggests (Twitter and Instagram, respectively). As a center attacking mid-type, he could face a couple of defensive midfielders that might test his pain tolerance.
Playoff urgency vs. not so much — The Sounders need to win. It’s getting down to it with just two games remaining. Dallas, on the other hand, has already been eliminated in the race and players will be playing for pride, jobs and perhaps to send their coach out on a good note. Schellas Hyndman announced Friday that he will be stepping down after this season, which will add some emotion to this one.
It’s hard to have confidence in the struggling Sounders, particularly if far from full strength — again.
As mentioned earlier, indications are that Martins and Johnson didn’t travel. Steve Zakuani and Shalrie Joseph have been ruled out. Djimi Traore and Dempsey are banged up. Osvaldo Alonso is suspended. Brad Evans is coming back into the mix with hardly any training.
Seattle has also been especially poor this season on the road and will finish with its worst points-per-game average away from CenturyLink Field, even with a win.
I think I see a tie with a result on Sunday in the San Jose/Galaxy game that clinches a playoff berth for the Sounders.
Sounders FC 1, FC Dallas 1
FCD — Blas Perez (Michel) 49′
SEA — Brad Evans (Alex Caskey) 82′
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What do you think? How do you see this one playing out?