Pumas win in the past, FCD expect "intensity" from Seattle
FRISCO, Texas — Some reward for FC Dallas. It seems as if every time they get a big win in CONCACAF Champions League play, a hungry Western Conference opponent awaits them the following weekend.
Two weeks ago, FCD had to follow up their win over Alianza FC in a CCL group play-in match with a trip to Western Conference leaders LA Galaxy in what was, at the time, branded the most important match in FC Dallas history.
Now, the second-place Dallas side must refocus their efforts from the historic away win against Pumas UNAM on Wednesday and hold the fort down at Pizza Hut Park against the third-place Seattle Sounders Saturday night (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
The Sounders also celebrated three points in CCL play this week and are in Dallas before traveling south to play Monterrey in Round 2 of CONCACAF action.
“I wish they would have went to Central America before they came here,” joked head coach Schellas Hyndman. “They’re one point behind us. This is a huge game. It’s a home game for us and we found a way to beat them on their field.”
Seattle have not won in “The Oven” in two games and FCD will have to be at their best to make it three. The Sounders crushed Guatemalan side Communicaciones 4-1 in their Champions League match at CenturyLink Field on Tuesday despite playing down a man through much of the second half, a win that will boost their already-soaring confidence.
“Knowing their coach Sigi Schmid,” continued Hyndman, “he will have them motivated and inspired that this is the most important game of the season. I would expect a lot of intensity and it should be a nice game to watch.”
FC Dallas’ personnel will change against Seattle, as center back George John is suspended after his two yellow cards and subsequent ejection last weekend against the Philadelphia Union. Hyndman offered that “we’ll have something in place” in regards to the open center-back position, but it's likely rookie Bobby Warshaw will man the spot after doing the same for John in Houston earlier this year.
This will mark the fifth time in six weeks FCD have faced a weekend turnaround after a midweek fixture, and fatigue — both mental and physical — could be a factor.
“I think it’s again getting to the player mentality,” acknowledged Hyndman, "that they’re committed and focused for this game."
Helping the team focus is a job for the veterans, notably Dallas' star defensive midfielder and goalkeeper.
“We got great leadership from Daniel Hernandez and Kevin Hartman talking about how important this game coming up is compared to this past game that is over,” Hyndman said. “We’re going to just to try to stay focused on that.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner