By CARL SETTERLUND
Two teams with high ambitions meet Wednesday night at Toyota Stadium, and something will have to give as the MLS-leading Seattle Sounders face one of the best home teams in the league in FC Dallas.
With the LA Galaxy running neck and neck with them in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, the Sounders will need to maximize points in their final six matches to keep their treble hopes alive.
A result would also mean a lot to FC Dallas as they’re still within reach of catching Real Salt Lake for the crucial third-place spot in the Western Conference, which comes with a first-round bye in the playoffs.
FC Dallas also hasn’t technically secured a spot in the postseason yet, but three points would give them an 11-point lead over the sixth-place Vancouver Whitecaps.
Although the hosts have lost three of their last four matches, FC Dallas have protected their home field with a six-game winning streak at Toyota Stadium. They’re 10-3-1 at home overall, although one of those losses came at the hands of the Sounders back in May.
FC Dallas will look for Blas Perez to continue his recent stretch, as the Panamanian has scored all three of the club’s goals in the past two games.
He could use some help, but it won’t come from Fabian Castillo, as the team’s co-leading scorer — along with Perez — has been ruled out with a right hamstring strain. Midfielder Mauro Diaz, another useful player, has also been confirmed to miss Wednesday’s game.
On the plus side, center back Matt Hedges should be back after missing FC Dallas’ last game.
They’ll need Hedges as the Sounders come in healthier than FC Dallas and have shown they can get goals from beyond the obvious big guns in Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.
A win for FC Dallas isn’t out of the question, though, as the New York Red Bulls showed with a victory over the Sounders on Saturday.
What are your thoughts on Wednesday night’s Western Conference showdown? What does FC Dallas have to do to overcome their injuries? How can the Sounders bounce back from the NYRB loss?
Share your thoughts below.