FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders lock horns in the Western Conference semi-final first-leg late on Sunday night.
Dallas will be in high spirits after their knockout round victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Though the Sounders will feel they have the advantage in the game as they finished top of the Western Conference, and lifted the MLS Supporters’ Shield for the first time in their history.
They also beat Dallas twice in the regular season, once at home and once away so Seattle will feel good about the tie, both at home and in the away leg.
The three games this season saw 12 goals scored between the sides and this promises to be an entertaining fixture.
FC Dallas home form: Played 18 – Won 13 – Drawn – 1 – Lost – 4
Seventy-five percent of Dallas’ wins came at home, with their home form among the best in the league, so winning will be no easy task for the Sounders.
Though the home side will be without star playmaker Mauro Diaz as he was given a one-game suspension for entering the field from the bench after being substituted in the win against Vancouver on Wednesday night.
Having clinched another home victory in the knockout round, Toyota Stadium will seem like even more a fortress, and the home support will need to inspire their team to victory.
Seattle Sounders away form: Played 17 – Won 8 – Drawn – 3 – Lost – 6
With Sounders avoiding defeat in 11 away games they’ll just need to approach this game with their usual upbeat optimism and play their own game. Taking any form of result back into the home tie will make it a very difficult game for Dallas.
This game has the chance of being a real explosive tie, as both sides are so dangerous going forwards that they also concede plenty of goals.
Seattle will look to get at least one away goal to take into the home game a week later, but Dallas needs to ensure they don’t lose this one.
Key Player: Obafemi Martins – The deadly finisher found the net 17 times in the regular season and was fifth-highest scorer in MLS. He needs to continue to deliver for the Sounders.
Key stat: Three is a magic number – Seattle’s treble over Dallas this season could be a mind over matter problem for Dallas to try and solve. They’ll have to treat this as a fresh game and forget what has gone on before.
FC Dallas Last 5: L/W/W/L/W
Seattle Sounders Last 5: W/W/L/D/W
Prediction: FC Dallas 1-2 Seattle Sounders