Sounders FC and FC Dallas will battle it for the right to advance to the Western Conference Semi-Final Round Friday Night. Each side held serve on its home court in the first two games. The Sounders will be looking to add to their record of 18 straight unbeaten matches against FC Dallas. The visitors will no doubt be out to put an end to the streak. In the last 29 meetings between the two clubs in all competitions the home side has only lost once. In the 29 matches dating back to May 2014, there has been eight draws.
FAST START FOR THE SOUNDERS
Both clubs have taken advantage of the home field by starting on the front foot with a high press designed to stifle the visiting team and create turnovers. It worked for the Sounders in Game One as the press eventually wore down the FC Dallas defense resulting in a goal two minutes before halftime. Sounders FC will need to be more clinical in their finishing and cannot allow FC Dallas to gain confidence. The visitors will try to slow the game down get all 11 men behind the ball and wait to pounce if the Sounders are sloppy in passing.
GAME TWO A DIFFERENT GAME
In game two in Frisco FC Dallas pounced on a lethargic and discombobulated Sounders team. FC Dallas scored within the first six minutes of the game due to the Sounder’s middle block of Jos Antecio and Joao Paulo leaving spacing behind them. The space the two midfielders left allowed for FC Dallas forwards Paul Arriola and Jesus Ferreira space to roam in front of the Yiemar and Jackson Ragen It is no coincidence both scored a goal. The Sounders backline was stretched and overwhelmed on the counterattack. FC Dallas attacked the Sounders left side and with no back up Nouhou had one of his worst games in recent memory.
COMMUNICATION IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD
Soccer being a team game it’s tough to blame any loss on one player. In game two Josh Atencio strayed too far upfield and it cost the Sounders. In game one Atencio did the same thing and it helped the Sounders. The difference is that in game one there was clear communication between Atencio, Paulo, Leo Chu, and Albert Rusnak. In game two it seemed like the four were acquaintances for the first two minutes of game two. In the second half of game two, the communication between the midfield and backline was clear and the Rave Green scored and was in the game until they lost their shape and FC Dallas sealed the win.
BIG TAKE AWAY
Sounders have to stay away from the dreaded penalty shootout. If the game is tied after regulation the two sides will go straight to a penalty shootout. Penalty shootouts are unpredictable. Sounders FC have to be dominant in the first 25 minutes of the game and find a way to get the ball in the back of the Dallas net early and often.
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