Sounders: 10 things to know ahead of important game vs FC Dallas
The Seattle Sounders need to start stringing together some positive results, starting with Tuesday night's home game against a FC Dallas team in prime position for a playoff spot.
Just when it seemed like the Sounders had rediscovered their mojo, along came LAFC. As well as Seattle started out in Los Angeles, by the end of the game it was clear who the better side was.
As a result of the 2-1 loss to LAFC, the Rave Green remain outside the top seven in the Western Conference. In one respect 12 games remain, but time is beginning to run out on extending their MLS record of 13 consecutive playoff qualifications.
If nothing else, at least the Sounders now return home, where they have a 6-4-1 record on the season; not great, but still better than on the road. Here are 10 things to know, ahead of the game at Lumen Field:
1) Seattle has a significant lead in the all-time head-to-head series, with a 19-9-9 record including playoffs. They are even stronger at home, winning 12 and drawing three of the last 15 games versus Dallas.
2) The Sounders and FC Dallas faced each other earlier this season in May, at Toyota Stadium in Texas. The home side came out on top with a 2-0 win, courtesy of goals from Jesus Ferreira and Paul Arriola.
3) The biggest attacking threats to Seattle will once again come from Ferreira and Arriola, who have already set personal best of 12 and nine MLS goals respectively this season. Ferreira's total is just two off the league lead, while he also has five assists.
4) In terms of attacking play more generally speaking, FC Dallas have a 33-29 advantage in goals scored, having played a game more. The Sounders have a slight 12.3-12.2 edge in shots averaged per game, as well as a minor 4.2-4.1 lead in attempts on target.
5) Despite returning to training last week after dealing with an ongoing hamstring issue, Raul Ruidiaz did not feature in the squad on Friday. Head coach Brian Schmetzer confirmed the striker will play on Tuesday night's game, but he doesn't know for how long or when.
6) The Sounders will be without Joao Paulo (knee) and Obed Vargas (back) versus FC Dallas. Paulo is lost for the season, while Vargas has been out for multiple weeks and Schmetzer has no update on him.
7) Seattle has been on a terrible run of form lately, losing five of their last seven league games. They have 11 defeats in total so far this year and have only three times in their MLS history lost more over the course of a full regular season.
8) If nothing else, the Sounders can take solace from FC Dallas, who have only just recently come through a seven-game winless streak themselves. They now find themselves in fourth place in the Western Conference, courtesy of two consecutive 1-0 wins.
9) Tuesday's clash with FC Dallas begins a crucial run for the Sounders, with four of the next five games coming against teams above them in the Western Conference standings. They need to find some more consistency and this stretch will go some way towards clarifying their chances of qualifying for the playoffs.
10) Schmetzer met with the media on Monday and spoke about FC Dallas and what to expect. He said:
"They played a game Saturday, they play Tuesday and then they've got a big match on Saturday, (so) we don't know their lineup (yet). It's a good possession-based team. (Head coach) Nico (Estevez) does a great job. They've got some players who can hurt you. A lot of young kids running around, so it will be a good test for us." "
* Statistics courtesy of soundersfc.com
What's your prediction for Tuesday night's game? Will the Sounders win, draw, or lose and why? Let us know in the comments section below.