Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - FC Dallas still has a shot to nab the last spot
in the MLS playoffs from the Western Conference, but it has to secure at least
a draw in the most intimidating stadium in the league Sunday.
Dallas sits four points out of fifth place in the West with two matches to go,
and needs at least a tie and a win in its last two regular-season games to get
to the postseason.
Even that scenario relies on Vancouver Whitecaps FC losing its last two games,
but the most important factor for Dallas (9-12-11) is to earn a result against
Seattle Sounders FC (14-7-11) at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle had an incredible 66,452 fans, the second-largest crowd for a regular-
season match in league history, for a match against the Portland Timbers this
Dallas will not face quite as many supporters, but the challenge is still the
same against Seattle, which has averaged a league-high 43,755 fans this year.
FCD enters the match in strong form, going 4-1-4 over its last nine matches -
the same record for Seattle over its last nine fixtures. But winning away from
home has been a struggle, with Dallas just 3-9-4 on the road this season.
Coach Schellas Hyndman will know where Dallas stands before the game kicks off
as Vancouver hosts Portland earlier Sunday. Should the Whitecaps open the door
for Dallas, it will give the club a boost in Seattle.
Obviously, the reverse is true if Vancouver wins, as it would eliminate Dallas
from postseason contention. FCD will be without midfielder Julian de Guzman as
he is suspended, but Daniel Hernandez will fill the void.
"He's played a lot of great games for us and a lot of great games in his
career," Hyndman said. "This should be a no-brainer here that he should go out
Seattle has clinched a postseason berth, but it holds just a three-point edge
on the Los Angeles Galaxy for fourth place. The top three squads receive a bye
in the first round of the playoffs.
Sounders FC tied Real Salt Lake, 0-0, on Wednesday, but played down a man for
60 minutes and was without a few important players, including Eddie Johnson.
Johnson leads Sounders FC with 14 goals and, after playing well for the United
States over the last week, will be even more confident for the end of the year
and the playoffs.
Seattle could also still finish second, as Real is just three points away. But
the second- and third-place teams will play a home-and-away series anyway, and
the seeding is not as important for those clubs.
Sounders will want to avoid a late-season slip, though, and a first-round one-
game playoff to advance to the conference semifinals. L.A. visits the San Jose
Earthquakes, so depending on that result, a draw could be enough for Seattle.
"We still have two games left," Seattle's Brad Evans said, "and we have to get
results because teams are still close."
The Sports Network