Calling FC Dallas “improved” over the last time the Seattle Sounders faced them qualifies as a bit of an understatement.
After falling to the Sounders by the score of 2-0 on May 9, FC Dallas’ record sat at 3-5-3 and would eventually get as bad as 3-9-6.
Then they got the 2010 MLS MVP back.
“The difference for them recently is David Ferreira,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He’s obviously come back. It took him a few games to get back in the rhythm, but then his rhythm got better. With him, their team — everybody fits into places a little bit better, the structure seems to be a little better, and he’s obviously a player who has attacking abilities and passing abilities.”
FC Dallas’ turnaround coincides almost perfectly with Ferreira’s return. In the 10 matches Ferreira has started, they are 5-3-2. Ferreira, who won the MVP in 2010 before suffering several injuries that forced him to miss over a year of action, has contributed two goals and six assists since his return, and Dallas have gone 4-0-1 in the matches in which he’s registered a point. Expect the Sounders to be well aware of all of that for Sunday evening's meeting (7 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
As important as Ferreira’s return has been, though, he’s not the only difference in FCD’s lineup. In the first meeting, they were also without forward Blas Perez and midfielder Brek Shea, both of whom are expected to play in this game. They’re also finally getting production from young, livewire winger Fabian Castillo.
Although their path has been significantly different, the Sounders also seem to be hitting their stride.
“We’re pretty much where I wanted to be or where I thought we’d be,” Schmid said. “If we hadn’t lost Michael [Gspurning] for that stretch of games I think we’d be in the hunt right now for the Supporters' Shield, which is where we wanted to be this year.
“Right now I think we’re playing good soccer. I think we’re playing effective soccer at the right times, as well. You want to play good soccer all the time, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way and you still have to be effective. I think we found a pretty good mix of playing that.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.