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FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders | MLS Match Preview

FC DALLAS vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
TOYOTA STADIUM, Frisco, Texas
April 12, 2013 (WEEK 6, MLS Game #49)
7:30 p.m. CT (TWCSN-TX; JOEtv)
MLS Free Stream of the Week

A key early-season match in the Western Conference is ahead on Saturday evening as FC Dallas play host to Seattle Sounders FC at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas have gotten to an undefeated start to the season and hold the best overall record in the league, after their 4-1 win at arch-rival Houston last weekend. Sounders FC are coming a stunning result against their own arch-rivals, scoring two late goals for a 4-4 draw at the Portland Timbers last Saturday.

REFEREE: Juan Guzman. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 38 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 12; pens: 9

SUSPENDED: none
DISABLED LIST: SEA: Damion Lowe; Kevin Parsemain
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (12 meetings): FC Dallas 2 wins, 12 goals … Sounders FC 6 wins, 20 goals … Ties 4
AT DALLAS (6 meetings): FC Dallas 1 win, 6 goals … Sounders FC 2 wins, 7 goals … Ties 3
RETURN MATCHES: 5/7: Seattle Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. PT; 9/24: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 2 p.m. PT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/18: SEA 4, DAL 2 (Johnson 16, 62; Neagle 31; Martins 83 – Cooper 54; Michel 61)
8/3: SEA 3, DAL 0 (Martins 8; Johnson 22; Evans 94+)
10/19: DAL 2, SEA 0 (Hedges 65; Michel 87)

  • FC Dallas won the final meeting between the teams a season ago, a 2-0 win on Sept. 19 at Toyota Stadium. It was their first victory against Sounders FC since May 25, 2011, when they won 1-0 in Seattle.
  • Sounders FC have won their last three home meetings with FC Dallas. The lone FCD victory at CenturyLink Field came May 25, 2011, a 1-0 win.
  • Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. SEA: P6 W1 L4 D1 … Sigi Schmid vs. DAL: P37 W17 L9 D11

FC DALLAS
FC Dallas extended their undefeated run to five games to start the new season, rolling to a 4-1 win against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. FC Dallas sit atop the Western Conference with 13 points from 5 games.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas took the lead in the 31st minute, After Ricardo Clark brought down Mauro Díaz from behind in a sea of players near the penalty spot, Michel stepped to the spot and struck a well-placed shot.
  • But 10 minutes later, the Dynamo were level. From a free kick nearly on the goal line in the left corner, Brad Davis swung in a service that found Clark and he made no mistake, placing his header inside the back post.
  • The game changed in the 60th minute when David Horst slid in to tackle Fabián Castillo on the sideline, catching Castillo from the side. Referee Ricardo Salazar went directly to his back pocket, sending off Horst.
  • Barely a minute later, FCD was in front. Michel put in a cultured free kick that found midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson, who headed home from inside the area.
  • The visitors put the game away with two goals in three minutes. In the 68th minute, Giles Barnes glanced a header into his own goal to double the FCD lead. Then in the 70th, Watson completed his brace by racing into the box and easily slotting home another Mauro Diaz pass.
  • The Dynamo had a chance to pull a goal back after Jair Benítez fouled Kofi Sarkodie on the edge of the penalty box, but FCD goalkeeper Chris Seitz dove to his right to reject the penalty kick attempt from Boniek García.
  • FCD head coach Oscar Pareja made three changes to the team that got a late 2-1 win against the Portland Timbers at Toyota Stadium. Zach Loyd came in at fullback for Kellyn Acosta, Hendry Thomas started in midfield in place of Victor Ulloa, and David Texeira entered up top for Blas Perez.
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Chris Seitz - Zach Loyd, Stephen Keel, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez - Hendry Thomas (Victor Ulloa 71), Michel - Je-Vaughn Watson, Mauro Diaz (Peter Luccin 79), Fabian Castillo - David Texeira (Blas Perez 66).

TEAM NEWS

  • FC Dallas extended their winning streak to three games and season-opening undefeated run to five games in the win at Houston, their largest victory ever in the Texas Derby. FC Dallas have not won four games in a row since 2009.
  • “A very important result and the effort especially in the second half for the team was outstanding. I liked the fact that we saw a team that was more mature tonight who is matching up with other teams like Houston who have a lot of experience in big events,” said FCD head coach Oscar Pareja. “We came out to their place and did very well so I liked a lot of things and they’re showing that they’re going in a good direction”
  • Mauro Díaz recorded a pair of assists. He now has 2 goals and 3 assists in his first 5 MLS games, with a goal and/or an assist in four of those.
  • Coming into the game, Je-Vaughn Watson had scored 3 goals in 65 career matches. He netted 2 goals in the win – his first career MLS two-goal game – and now has three on the season.
  • Watson was not expected to feature in the match, but was available for the game only after his red card (and the one for Portland’s Michael Harrington) was rescinded by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
  • “A very special night for Je-Vaughn," Pareja said. "The way he's working for his teammates and the work ethic that he's showing us is great, and when that happens, the game will reward you and today was a good example. ... For us, it was important that he was part of the game. He proved how important he's becoming for this team.”
  • Said Watson: “Every game I play Oscar says I can score a goal or two. Just to get the appeal through meant I could play. I want to thank God because that doesn’t happen often. I just want to thank them for doing the appeal and [having it] go through because if I hadn’t played I wouldn’t have scored two goals.”
  • FC Dallas scored a fifth goal of the season from a free kick, and could have had a sixth from set-piece that became an own goal. FCD also has scored two penalties.
  • Chris Seitz saved a penalty for the second time in his career, his first coming June 27, 2010 vs. Seattle. Opposing shooters are 6-for-9 vs. Seitz from the spot; they have been unsuccessful in the last two, as a penalty kick last April 28 at the LA Galaxy was missed wide right by Robbie Keane.
  • “It’s a road game. We went into Kansas City and got a point and that started the belief. Now we come to Houston in a rivalry game, we came here and matched them and came out on top,” said Seitz. “For us, that’s what it is and now our focus turns to two home games, two good home games and we’ve got another test ahead of us.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC recorded a remarkable result, coming back from two goals down late before ending in a 4-4 draw with the Portland Timbers on Saturday afternoon at Providence Park. Sounders FC are in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 7 points from 5 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC opened the scoring in the third minute when a corner kick was served in by Jalil Anibaba and slammed into the roof of the goal by an unmarked Kenny Cooper. But Portland answered six minutes later when Diego Chara stripped a defender, ran through the defense down the middle of the field and slotted home a shot from outside the area.
  • The Timbers took the lead in the 14th minute. Diego Valeri took a pass from Michael Harrington in the corner of the goal area with his back to the goal, spun away and chipped perfectly with his left foot off the crossbar and over the line. But the scores were level again in the 24th minute when Obafemi Martins found a streaking Clint Dempsey, who slotted past Timbers goalkeeper Andrew Weber as he charged off his line.
  • The Timbers hit for two quick goals early in the second half, the first coming when Chara found open space in midfield, hared forward and uncorked a right-footed blast from 25 yards out that sailed into the top corner. Just a minute later, Maximiliano Urruti stripped a defender on the left wing and left fly a drive that curled just inside the far post and outside the reach of a diving Stefan Frei.
  • But Sounders FC still had another answer. First, in the 86th minute, a cross from Lamar Neagle received a slight flick by Martins and Dempsey tapped in from close range. Then, substitute Ben Zemanski tripped DeAndre Yedlin in the area and was whistled for a penalty. Dempsey calmly converted the spot kick to complete the hat trick and comeback.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the Columbus Crew at CenturyLink Field. Jalil Anibaba and Leo Gonzalez came into the back four for Dylan Remick and the suspended Djimi Traore, and Clint Dempsey returned from suspension in place of Lamar Neagle.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-2-3): Stefan Frei - DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Jalil Anibaba, Leo Gonzalez - Osvaldo Alonso - Michael Azira (Marco Pappa 68), Gonzalo Pineda - Kenny Cooper (Lamar Neagle 60), Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey.

TEAM NEWS

  • The four goals were the most in a game for Sounders FC since back-to-back wins with four goals last May 11-18 vs. San Jose and FC Dallas.
  • “Both teams found opportunities and it was an open game because of the fact, I think, that there were some defensive mistakes on both sides of the ball, their side and our side. That led to the openness as well,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “Execution is always important. When you get chances, you have to finish them. For a while I was ruing that we had some good chances that we didn’t finish. At the end of the day, defensive execution is important as well.”
  • Clint Dempsey scored the first hat trick in his MLS career, bringing Sounders FC back. Dempsey has a goal and/or an assist now in four consecutive MLS matches, dating back to the last season.
  • “I think it was tough for me playing catch-up,” Dempsey said. “Doing preseason with Tottenham and joining a league where everybody was past midseason form. Adjusting to playing games and the travel and the turf and the toll it takes on you. I picked up a few injuries, and it seemed like I was always trying to climb a mountain to get things right. Now I feel good. I feel like I’m in a rhythm because of that fitness and feeling sharp and feeling strong I was able to come in here and to have more of an impact on games.”
  • Said Lamar Neagle: “It’s a relief to see him hit his stride. Scoring three goals is phenomenal for the team, but we’re starting to recognize where he needs the ball. That’s the most evident thing. He’s getting into the spaces and we’re finally figuring out where he’s comfortable.”
  • Obafemi Martins recorded a pair of assists, his second two-assist game in his MLS career. He also has a goal and/or an assist now in four consecutive MLS matches. He leads MLS with 4 assists heading into the weekend.
  • “Talking to Oba, we know we have to play well in order for this team to do well,” Dempsey said. “It’s important to combine well and get that parternship, that relationship, that understanding of where each other is on the field. That’s building.” Said Martins: “We love playing each other, trying to connect, trying to play well because that’s the chance we have up front. This is just the beginning. I hope we’ll play well and play a lot of games together.”
  • Kenny Cooper scored his second goal in as many games, and has five goals in his last nine league games dating back to last season.
  • Sounders FC conceded four goals for the first time since a 4-1 home loss to Vancouver last Oct. 9, and have now conceded four goals or more three times in their last 10 league games.
  • “You’re never happy when give up four goals, but I think some of the goals that we gave up were individual mistakes.  ... We have to eliminate those turnovers in bad parts of the field, so we don’t give away opportunities like that,” said Schmid. “When you score four on the road, you should come away with a win, but I’m sure they feel when you score four at home, you should have a win as well.”