Stefan Frei - Seattle Sounders - Shouting from the goal
Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports Images

After missed chance, Seattle Sounders know trickier road to playoff awaits

TUKWILA, Wash. – The Seattle Sounders’ scoreless draw against the Houston Dynamo at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday was by no means a crippling blow to their chances of making the Audi 2016 MLS Cup playoffs.

It just made things a little bit tougher.

Seattle still control their own destiny with two games to go in the 2016 regular season. But the Sounders will have their work cut out for them in the first of those matchups, as they hit the road Sunday (5 pm ET, MLS LIVE) to take on a Supporters’ Shield-leading FC Dallas squad that boasts a blistering 11-1-4 record within the friendly confines of Toyota Stadium.

With the knowledge that a victory over Houston would have punched Seattle’s postseason ticket beforehand, Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei said Wednesday’s draw represented a missed opportunity.

“This was an opportunity for us to reward all of our hard work and get something out of it and I think we kind of blew that chance,” Frei said. “That’s why I’m a little upset. I think we deserved to reap the rewards of the hard work we’ve been putting in. But there are other chances left and we have to take care of it as a team.”

Seattle will also enter Sunday’s match against FCD shorthanded.

Midfielder Ozzie Alonso will be suspended for the contest after picking up a second-half red card against Houston. Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer also ruled Austrian attacker Andreas Ivanschitz out on Thursday after he sprained his knee in the first half of Wednesday’s match.

“Soldiers are going down right now,” said forward Herculez Gomez. “It’s not a fun thing to see because you’re here day in and day out with these guys so you know how much they’ve put in. It’s frustrating when your teammate – a family member – goes down.

“There’s vacancies but I think there are plenty of guys here who are chomping at the bit. But it’s not about words — it’s about action.”

Seattle blasted FCD 5-0 in the last matchup between the sides on July 13, in a game that saw Dallas coach Oscar Pareja field a makeshift lineup devoid of many of his regular starters.

The Sounders don’t figure to be afforded the same luxury this time around against a franchise that has fast become a chief Western Conference nemesis.

“Oscar is very firm in his belief in how he wants his team to play,” Schmetzer said following Thursday practice. “You have to give credit to my buddy [technical director] Fernando Clavijo, who’s done a good job there with player acquisition and just their whole philosophy.

“It’s a good organization, top to bottom.”