SEATTLE – It might take a miracle for FC Dallas to dig themselves out of the 3-0 hole they find themselves in following a blowout defeat to the Seattle Sounders in the opening leg of their Western Conference semifinal in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.
But if any group is capable of pulling off such a monumental comeback, both FCD head coach Oscar Pareja and his players say that they think it could be them.
At his postgame press conference on Sunday, Pareja noted that his club found itself in a similar, if slightly less precarious, situation in last year’s playoffs after FCD fell to these same Sounders 2-1 in their semifinal opener.
Dallas would come back to win the second leg on penalty kicks and end Seattle’s season, a feat that Pareja said his club is now focused on attempting to replicate in spite of the seemingly long odds.
“This series, there is no tomorrow,” Pareja said. “We overcame a difficult result last year when we left this field. We’ll try to do the same.”
Of course, the three-goal deficit isn’t the only obstacle FCD face this time around. Dallas are without the services of star midfielder Mauro Diaz following an Achilles injury suffered in FCD’s 2-1 win over the Sounders on Oct. 16.
Diaz’s absence loomed large on Sunday, as FCD’s attack couldn’t manage to bag what could have been a crucial road goal. But midfielder Victor Ulloa said he has faith that turning the series around is anything but impossible for a team that already has a US Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield to their name in 2016.
“It is a big game and a big [deficit] to overcome, but we have done it once or twice this year and we have proven that,” Ulloa said. “We have that mentality. We like to overcome things. We like to prove people wrong and we have two great accomplishments this year. This is one more game. Win or go home.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by midfielder Mauro Rosales, the former Sounder who could be tasked with trying to fill some of the noticeable creative void left by Diaz’s absence.
“We will try to prepare for the next game as best as possible knowing that it is another 90 minutes,” Rosales said. “If they scored three goals then we can do that, as well. It is going to be tough.
“It is going to be a difficult game over there in Dallas. It is not done. …Obviously 3-0 is a tough, tough result to come home with, but we have done a lot of coming back this year and we hope to have a better game.”