Goals from David Texeira bookended another Lamar Neagle strike from distance and Blas Perez netted an insurance tally with two minutes remaining as FC Dallas downed the Sounders 3-1 on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.
Here are my first impressions.
– Early goals against are becoming a pattern
It wasn’t Bradley Wright-Phillips scoring in the very first minute of last Saturday’s Sounders-Red Bulls match in New York, but Texeira’s eighth-minute strike Wednesday for Dallas was just as damaging.
A simple long throw bounced around the box for Texeira to hammer past Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei and give Dallas the 1-0 lead. And that wasn’t even FCD’s only scoring early scoring chance: It won two free kicks and a corner even before that opening goal.
It marked the fourth consecutive match in which the Sounders went behind in the first half.
Two of those earlier three matches ended in come-from-behind victories, but Seattle wasn’t so lucky on Wednesday night.
Texeira struck again with 12 minutes remaining in normal time on a feed from Andres Escobar to restore Dallas’ lead, and Blas Perez’s header squirted through Frei’s hands 10 minutes later to lock up all three points.
– Lamar Neagle is back
The Seattle attacker was in a slump at the beginning of September – he even admitted as much in the run-up to the Chivas USA match on Sept. 3. If he didn’t end it that night at the Home Depot Center, his wonder strike from distance against Real Salt Lake win marked a turning point.
Neagle continued his good run of form Wednesday night with another goal-of-the-week submission, a dipping, knuckling drive from outside the top of the box in the 58th minute to pull Seattle level.
The strike was yet another push for more minutes from the winger, who had only come on as a substitute for Andy Rose a minute before he turned and fired.
– This wasn’t quite the playoff preview many – OK, I — expected
Wednesday night’s showdown could have been a handy look ahead to a playoff series between the current first- and fourth-place teams in the Western Conference.
The absence attacker Fabian Castillo changed that.
It was just one player, yes. But it shifted the dynamics of the match. And as Escobar’s many dribbles into the heart of the Seattle defense and pair of assists showed, it can be susceptible to tricky wingers.
The unit may have to face another one if these two teams meet again come the postseason — and given the end result, that’s ominous.
– Spare a thought for Zach Scott
The Sounders defender was making his 300th-career appearance for the club in all competitions, from the USL First Division to the U.S. Open Cup to MLS.
But his milestone night was cut short after just 36 minutes, when a heavy aerial collision with Texiera sent him hobbling off the field to be replaced by Djimi Traore.
It was a cruel twist for Scott – and for the back line, as well, having just gotten back to something approaching full health.