#Deucewatch is over and there is no way Dempsey will feature tonight against FC Dallas.
There. I said it.
It should go without saying, but for those holding out to see the men’s national team captain sporting rave green tonight at Century Link, you’ll be sorely disappointed. I’m not sorry, either. Dempsey on the pitch would exacerbate an already hostile environment that Dallas will enter tonight at 7:30 PT.
FCD hasn’t had a consistent stint of good form this entire midseason stretch. It’s dismaying to say the least: Dallas was top of the league table a little over a month ago. They are winless in eight matches, nine if you count the US Open Cup loss to Portland.
Seattle’s form hasn’t been brilliantly consistent, but it’s been better across eight matches by far: four wins, three losses, and a solitary draw. In fact, all their victories, aside from one during this stint were at Century Link. It’s an atmosphere that’s mean to be unaccommodating with plenty of smoke, brimstone, and vitriol unleashed upon away sides. Moreover, Seattle’s midfield lynchpin, distributor, and enforcer Osvaldo Alonso should feature in a lineup he has been out of for weeks.
This will be a battle for Dallas, and not the most ideal opponent or situation in which they’d like to find themselves. A win is what is needed; a draw will be acceptable under most terms. Keep in mind Dallas had to put in their worst defensive performance of the season at Century Link in mid May and still had a multi-goal match against the Sounders. This isn’t even counting the Blas Perez red card in the 72nd minute.
Furthermore, FCD hasn’t seen a road victory since the first month of the season at New England, poached by a Blas Perez header in the last quarter of the match. It was a good win, but the only one. A 1-4-5 record will earn you the illustrious company of Chivas USA, San Jose, Toronto FC, and DC United, but it will not keep you at the top of any table.
Fighting the tendency of being overly critical on a team that has been in a massive slump since June 1st, some positives exist. The signing of Mauro Diaz and Erick (who is currently nursing a hamstring injury) will give young depth through the middle of the field and are promising signings. Peter Luccin, whose name you have not heard in months, is training again.
George John will be in the lineup, Blas Perez will be in the lineup, and there are no other injury woes for the starting XI. Many starters rested well after participating in only a portion of the weekend friendly against a Brek-less Stoke City. Young guns earned minutes and jostled well with a Stoke City side whose average height is probably more than the Dallas Mavericks.
But barring any red cards or injuries this should be the fittest and fullest squad FCD can offer. It’s been weeks since that’s happened. The presence of John and Perez on the same field has been such a vital factor in FCD’s success, as the team is a mere 4-6-4 without the two. John’s presence is even more vital: only one match has ended favorably for Dallas this year without him in the lineup.
Aside from that, FCD should feel at least a little bitter about a Texan and Dallas soccer product heading to a rival. Sure, the league has more say in this situation, but let’s see some of that HSG Columbus Crew money splashed out and let the victor take Deuce home.
FC Dallas: 4-2-3-1: Fernandez; Loyd, John, Hedges, Benitez; Jacobson, Michel; Cooper, Ferreira, Watson; Perez
Seattle Sounders: 4-1-3-2: Weber; Yedlin, Ianni, Traore, Gonzalez; Alonso; Rosales, Evans, Burch; Neagle, Martins
(image courtesy of USA Today Sports Images)