FC Dallas-Sounders Preview

Oct 24, 2009, 5:43 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 9:50 am

By JEFF MEZYDLO
STATS Senior Writer

Seattle Sounders FC has already secured a playoff berth in its inaugural season. FC Dallas’ postseason hopes, however, have come down to the final weekend.

Dallas looks to continue a late-season surge and keep its playoff chances alive with a fifth consecutive victory Saturday night on the road against the surprising Sounders.

After missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons a year ago, Dallas (11-12-6) has done all it could over the last month to make sure that won’t happen again. Defenders George John and Ugo Ihemelu scored as the club won for the fifth time in six matches, 2-1 over Colorado last Saturday.

Dallas is in a four-way tie with Toronto FC, New England and D.C. for the eighth and final playoff spot – one point behind seventh-place Colorado. Though two postseason berths remain, Dallas faces a must-win situation and needs the right combinations of other matches to go its way in order to keep playing after Saturday.

“We don’t even talk about it,” coach Schellas Hyndman said. “It’s too complicated and we need to win a game before we can dream about anything else.”

Though Jeff Cunningham didn’t find the back of the net last week after scoring 16 of his league-leading 17 goals over a 13-game stretch, Dave van den Bergh recorded his 11th assist for Dallas, which has outscored its opponents 8-2 during a four-game winning streak.

“Week after week, we’ve just been fighting and playing our style of soccer,” Ihemelu said. “This is the way we want to keep going into the next game and hopefully into the playoffs.”

That might not be easy against upstart Seattle (11-7-11), which beat Kansas City 3-2 last Saturday to join the 1998 Chicago Fire as the only clubs to clinch a playoff berth during their expansion seasons.

The Fire’s improbable run culminated by winning the MLS Cup, something Seattle coach Sigi Schmid knows would be a tall order. The Sounders should be motivated since next month’s title match will be played on their home pitch at Qwest Field.

“The scenario was different when Chicago did it because the league was a lot younger,” Schmid told MLS’ official Web site as he prepares to guide his third different team to the playoffs after coaching Los Angeles (2002) and Columbus (2008) to MLS championships.

“I’m proud of our team, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. I still think we can play better soccer, but that’s just me.”

The Sounders can also earn the top spot in the Western Conference. Though in fourth place, Seattle is one point behind West leaders Los Angeles, Houston and CD Chivas USA.

“The sky’s the limit with this team,” said forward Nate Jaqua, who scored his eighth goal of the season against Kansas City. “You know we’re going to go in there and fight every time we play.”

Tyrone Marshall had a goal with an assist, Freddie Ljungberg added two assists and Roger Levesque scored for the second consecutive match to help Seattle win its second straight last week.

Jaqua assisted on Jhon Kennedy Hurtado’s goal when Seattle and Dallas played to a 1-all draw May 16 at Pizza Hut Park.

Seattle Sounders FC

Sounders Fredy Montero...
The Associated Press

Fredy Montero helps Sounders draw with FC Cincinnati 1-1

Fredy Montero equalized for Seattle in the second half of a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night that kept the Sounders' slim playoff hopes alive.
3 days ago
Sounders Whitecaps...
SeattleSports.com Staff

Sounders’ playoff chances take a hit with 2-1 loss in Vancouver

The Vancouver Whitecaps downed the Seattle Sounders 2-1 in MLS play on Saturday night thanks to a pair of goals in the first half.
13 days ago
Sounders...
The Associated Press

Ruidiaz scores 2 goals as Seattle Sounders defeat Austin

Raul Ruidiaz scored two goals and the Seattle Sounders beat Austin 3-0 on Saturday night. Both of Ruidiaz's goals were in the first half.
20 days ago
PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 09: Fredy Montero #12 of Seattle Sounders reacts in the second half against ...
The Associated Press

Montero, Nouhou score, Sounders beat Dynamo 2-1 to stop skid

Fredy Montero scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 win for the Sounders over Houston as Seattle ended a five-game winless streak.
26 days ago
REUNION, FLORIDA - JULY 25: Kyle Smith #24 of Orlando City carries the ball during a match against ...
The Associated Press

Smith’s goal in stoppage time lifts Orlando City over Sounders 3-2

Kyle Smith scored in the first minute of second-half stoppage time and Orlando City beat the Seattle Sounders 3-2 on Wednesday night.
30 days ago
Seattle Sounders...
The Associated Press

Portland Timbers down Seattle Sounders 2-1 to win Cascadia Cup

Sebastian Blanco scored the go-ahead goal and the Portland Timbers won the Cascadia Cup with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders.
1 month ago
FC Dallas-Sounders Preview