FC Dallas – Seattle Sounders Match Preview

Photo by David Chaffin for Soccer Information Network
Photo by David Chaffin for Soccer Information Network

FC Dallas heads to the northwestern United States in search of three points on Wednesday night as they face the struggling Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field.

This will be the second of three meetings this season between Dallas and Seattle. Their first meeting in 2016 was a 2-0 home win for FC Dallas on May 14th, with goals scored by Mauro Diaz and Michael Barrios.

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FC Dallas Lags Behind In MLS Attendance

Photo by David Chaffin for Soccer Information Network
Photo by David Chaffin for Soccer Information Network

20 games into their 2016 MLS season, FC Dallas find themselves top of both the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield standings with an impressive 37 points.

Conversely, the club goes from the top of the league to the bottom of it when it comes to fan attendance at home matches. Website Soccer Stadium Digest routinely updates the 2016 MLS Attendance rankings following each match week, and as of July 10th, FC Dallas is last in MLS when it comes to average attendance per home match.

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United States U-23 team downed by Colombia, will miss second straight Olympics

Photo by David Chaffin for Soccer Information Network
Photo by David Chaffin for Soccer Information Network

The Road to Rio hit a dead-end on Tuesday night in Frisco when the Colombian U-23 national team out powered, and out classed the U.S. U-23 national team for 90 minutes plus stoppage time on its way to a 2-1 victory – 3-2 on aggregate.

It is the second straight Olympics the United States will miss in the soccer competition.

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FC Dallas showed poise in 2-0 Opening Day win

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Fabian Castillo, Maximiliano Urruti, Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo celebrate the first goal of the season.

While the clock began to wind down on FC Dallas’ 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union, dark clouds began to lurk over Toyota Stadium. As the clouds rolled in, Fabian Castillo tried a shot that he drug just wide of the far post.

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First Reactions to the 2015 FC Dallas Season

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What a punch to the gut. Finally, going into a playoff series with a sense of momentum after beating the “favored” Sounders, a lot of the FC Dallas faithful rightfully felt like a chance to host and win MLS Cup was in the offing.

But with a late goal in Portland, the Timbers made it 3-1 after the first leg and Dallas could only muster a 2-2 tie in Texas, and it is Portland on their way to play Columbus in the Final. Ironically, had Dallas found a way to not give up that late goal in Portland, and somehow find a way to not give up a second goal in Dallas, the Texas fans could have been privy to another thrilling finale in either extra time or kicks from the mark, and it would have been Oscar Pareja’s side hosting the Crew in the Final.

Alas, it was not to be. But as disappointing as things feel – and certainly, to get so close after having the best record in the Western Conference – there are bags of reasons to feel good about this team going forward. To be sure, there are some improvements that need to be made, and we will touch on them here too, but the list of positives is much longer. So let’s grab a few quick surface-level comments about this year in FC Dallas.

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FC Dallas’ late comeback falls short, bow out of MLS Cup Playoffs. Portland Timbers advance to first MLS Cup Final in club history

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FC Dallas would come just a goal short of producing yet another classic in this year’s MLS Cup Playoffs, but after a valiant effort, their 2015 campaign came to an end.

Ryan Hollingshead and Blas Perez would put their best efforts forward for Dallas, but Dairon Asprilla and Lucas Melano had other ideas, putting the Portland Timbers into their first MLS Cup in club history.

Dallas would have the first chance of the match coming in the 6th minute. Fabian Castillo was lurking on the left-side of the box unmarked and homegrown Kellyn Acosta found him with a great cross. Castillo crossed the ball across the face of goal but no-one could connect. Portland would immediately counter, but Acosta tracked back to prevent the one-on-one chance with a tackle of Fanendo Adi.

The teams would then trade open chances, neither would find the back of the net. Portland would get the first of those chances as Darion Asprilla would use a deft touch with his chest to produce a shot inside the box in the 14th minute. Homegrown keeper Jesse Gonzalez would come up with a nice save from point-blank.

Portland’s keeper, Adam Larsen Kwarasey, would commit grand larceny, robbing David Texeira of his second goal in this year’s playoffs. Texeira would have an open header crashing down towards goal. His effort was stonewalled by Kwarasey who flailed his body at it to make the stop in the 32nd minute.

The Timbers would have one final chance in the first half at the 36 minute mark after an Asprilla cross, but Adi would send his effort 20 rows into the stands.

Adi would have the last laugh in the 51st minute. After a Mauro Diaz turnover the ball found its way to the feet of Adi who had just Gonzalez in front of him as Walker Zimmerman had slipped to the ground. Adi dribbled and ripped a shot past the fingertips of Gonzalez to make the score 1-0 in the match, 4-1 on aggregate in favor of the Timbers.

Diaz would refuse to be remembered as the guy who helped end his clubs season, so he took over the match. The Argentine would provide two assists for FC Dallas’ last gasp at MLS Cup.

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The Argentine lifted a perfectly weighted ball towards the former UCLA Bruin, Hollingshead. Hollingshead’s finish was crisp and clean into the bottom right corner making the score 1-1 in the match and 4-2 on aggregate in the 69th minute. The life was just what FC Dallas needed, as they used the momentum to grab another.

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The Panamanian big man Perez, who checked into the match in the 66th minute, grabbed a header to pull Dallas within one on aggregate. His first goal since May. Diaz lifted a cross a cross in off a set-piece, and Perez was there for the goal making it 4-3 on aggregate in favor of the Timbers in the 73rd minute. Toyota Stadium would not sit down for the rest of the match.

Perez would have another chance in stoppage time, but his shot was blocked out of play by an outstanding effort from Nat Borchers. Portland would pick up the dagger just minutes later. Stoppage time sub Lucas Melano would round Gonzalez, tapping the ball into the net for the series.

FC Dallas’ gutsy effort would fall short, as they could not muster the goals they needed. Portland would tie the match 2-2, and win on aggregate by a score of 5-3, advancing to MLS Cup. Now begins a long off-season for FC Dallas.

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After The Smoke Clears – Western Conference Semifinals

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What a fantastic night for FC Dallas and its fans. The crowd – including its makeup as well as its size – the opponent, the game situation. Clearly, it was the biggest moment in franchise history, and it will likely be even bigger for the next home game barring a complete collapse by FCD in Portland. Soak it in, folks. This is a game changer, even moreso than what the team went through in 2010.

There is so much to digest and discuss from this one. Ultimately, it was FC Dallas prevailing in kicks from the mark in dramatic fashion, after absolute belam in the last ten minutes of regulation. The range of emotions that everyone went through was as wide as you will see in professional sports.

And the list of heroes for Dallas is long. Very long. Yes, Jesse Gonzalez tops the list with Walker Zimmerman right behind him, but it took hard work over 120 minutes from the entire team to wear Seattle down to where the goals came when Dallas needed them. Continue reading

Zimmerman unlikely hero in FC Dallas win

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As Alexi Lalas said last night, if you had to predict how far Walker Zimmerman would be on the list of heroes in the FC Dallas win last night, you would have Zimmerman pretty far down the list. Zimmerman came on as a substitute and scored the goal to send it into extra time and the winning penalty kick shot in the shootout to send FC Dallas to the Western Conference finals. For Zimmerman, the whole night was surreal to him.

“You’re always thinking you will score the game winning penalty kick and hoping it happens,” he said. “With the situation tonight, the likelihood of it is rare and we prepared all week in practice for a situation for this.”

When Zimmerman walked up to the spot for the game winning penalty shot, most would have butterflies, for Zimmerman, he was confident because of what goalkeeper Jesse Gonzales did earlier.

“Jesse did such a good job and it really takes the pressure of you,” he said. (Jesse then went to thank him for making the shot) “I even though that if I missed, we would be fine, but Jesse took a lot of the pressure off of me and credit to all the penalty shots we made.”

The win tonight was gratifying after what happened last year to Zimmerman and credits the fans for their involvement in the game.

“We knew Seattle knocked us out last year and have had our number,” he said. “The fans were great the entire game too.”

Most thought Zimmerman would not enter the game in that situation, but Zimmerman knew that it would be likely he and Tesho would go in at that moment of the game.

“We practiced all week for a situation like that,” he said. “I knew that if the game was tied heading into the seventy-fifth-eightieth minute that Blas, Tesho, and myself would be going into the game. We were ready for it.”

FC Dallas win insane shootout with Seattle, advance to Western Conference Finals

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An insane final 10 minutes of regular time which saw three combined goals scored by the two clubs, all by second half subs. Tesho Akindele and Walker Zimmerman got on the scoresheet for FC Dallas, while Chad Barrett score for Seattle.

 The match would have to be decided in penalties. Zimmerman would later be called upon the score the winning penalty, which he did. I think you can say the kids, are now men.

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Its All About Michael Barrios

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FC Dallas comes into Sunday’s game against the Seattle Sounders down, 2-1, in the home and away series that will decide this Western Conference Semifinal.

This means Dallas not only has to win, but due to the away-goals rule, has to win by either 2 or more goals or by a 1-0 scoreline to advance. If Dallas wins 2-1 in regulation, the series will go to an overtime period, followed by kicks from the mark, if necessary.

The big question is can Oscar Pareja and his players find a way to crack the inevitable bus that the Sounders are going to park in front of their goal. Considering the scoreline, available players and styles of play, you pretty much can bet the house that Sigi Schmidt will have his team do all they can to keep their shape compact and close to goal as any tie puts them through, and other than a 1-0 loss, any one goal loss either keeps them alive or puts them through.

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