SEATTLE – In the days leading up to FC Dallas' Week 32 match against the Seattle Sounders, FCD coach Oscar Pareja said he felt his team’s playoff aspirations could hinge on getting a road result against the defending MLS Cup champions.
The result continued an inexplicable freefall for last year’s Supporters’ Shield and US Open Cup champions, who find themselves below the red line going into next weekend’s regular season finale against the LA Galaxy at Toyota Stadium.
“I thought we played a very good first half and a terrible second half,” Pareja said after the game. “We didn’t execute in the second half and there were many holes in the game that Seattle took advantage of then put the game away very early.
“In the first half I have to recognize what we did – I thought we had the control of the game. We had some options, but without finishing, and that’s been a common thing for the last period. Seattle overwhelmed us in the second half. They created the options, were very clinical and took advantage of any space we gave them in the second half and just put the game away.”
Pareja tried some lineup tinkering to spark his side, moving Michael Barrios from his normal spot on the wing to center forward. But that didn't appear to help his side's finishing woes early, before Seattle's attack rendered them a moot point late.
“We wanted to stretch the game with [Barrios] in the first half … and I thought we did that very well,” Pareja said. “We created some spacing and we created some attack where we wanted, but again without finishing.
“It gave us more confidence towards the second half, but instead where we were building, Seattle got the first goal,” he added. “The plan was to continue in the second half with our spacing … but Seattle started to get some sharpness up front and every time they had the option, they were clinical and that’s the result.”
With his team now needing to earn more points than the San Jose Earthquakes next week on Decision Day presented by AT&T, said, is turn their focus to their home match against LA. The Galaxy are coming off a 3-0 victory over Minnesota United, but are also languishing at the bottom of the Western Conference table with 32 points from 33 matches.
“We want to keep fighting, despite the frustration of this game,” Pareja said. “The league and the game give us the chance to go fight for [a playoff spot]. We will prepare this week with the same responsibility so we can clinch.”