FC Dallas ended April and started May stuck in a three-game losing streak.
Not just losses, but shutouts. Losses by a combined 8-0. First, 3-0 at Sporting Kansas City. Then even more trouble in a 4-0 defeat at the New York Red Bulls. Which was followed by a 1-0 loss at Toronto FC.
That tough run ended Wednesday when Dallas returned home and rallied for a 2-1 victory over Portland.
Mixing the good with the bad, Dallas is 6-4-2 overall and second in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.
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The inconsistency by Dallas becomes Seattle coach Sigi Schmid’s issue on Saturday, when the Sounders will face either the good FC Dallas or the bad FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
“It’s a streaky league,” Schmid said. “ Obviously three road games was difficult for them. They shuffled their lineup a little bit. They had a period of games when (midfielder Mario) Diaz wasn’t fully available to them — just played a little off the bench — and he’s a very influential player to their game.”
The other obvious issue in Dallas’ losing streak was that it happened on the road, and ended when the team returned home. For the season, Dallas is unbeaten in six home games (4-0-2), but 2-4 on the road.
That clicks in ominously with the Sounders, whose .500 season comes from a 4-2 record in Seattle and 0-2-1 everywhere else.
“In the past we’ve always been a pretty good road team, and for us it’s returning to that,” Schmid said. “I think this year on the road obviously at Colorado we lost deservedly. RSL, I think, was harsh for us because we made that mistake at the end of the game: We should have got out of there at least with a point. … Houston we pulled off a tie at the end, so we got a point out of that one. Our philosophy as a team generally is we play the same as we play at home.”
The Sounders could benefit from favors by Mother Nature and the MLS schedule maker. The Dallas-area forecast calls for a high temperature of 73 under cloudy skies Saturday and game-time temperatures in the 60s. There’s a possibility of rain, but those are conditions a soccer team from Seattle is happy to see on a mid-May visit to Texas.
Meanwhile, the Sounders have had a full week off since their 2-0 win over San Jose, while the Hoops return to action three days after their win over the Timbers.
Seattle midfielder Erik Friberg downplayed any significant advantage in that.
“They play at home,” he said. “They have been struggling a little bit away. I think they’re going to be excited to play at home, two games in four days. It’s a good team. We talked a lot to keep the ball ... and especially not lose it in the defense area. They have some very good counterattack players. We need to be careful.”
Schmid said that’s the usual plan: his team concerning itself with its own play, and less about its opposition.
The Sounders have been riding a wave, following a season-opening, three-game losing streak with a 4-1-1 record since then, including back-to-back wins.
All Sounders regulars were reported healthy and available. ... Rookie Jordan Morris has scored in four consecutive games and will set an MLS rookie record for goals in consecutive games if he gets another goal Saturday. ... Designated player Clint Dempsey picked up his second goal of the season last weekend. ... In goal, Stefan Frei kept his second consecutive clean sheet.
FC DALLAS (6-4-2; 20 POINTS) VS. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (4-4-1; 13 POINTS)
6 p.m. Saturday, Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas.
TV: Ch. 13. Radio: 97.3-FM.
Head to head: Seattle leads the all-time regular-season series 9-3-5, and is 3-2-4 at Dallas. The teams have met in the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. In 2014, Seattle eliminated Dallas on away goals. Last season, Dallas advanced on penalty kicks. The teams will play in Seattle on July 13 and again in Frisco on Oct. 16.
Notes: Dallas is second in the Western Conference and fashioned a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Portland on Wednesday. The Sounders are eighth in the West and trying to get above .500 for the first time this season. … Dallas’ goal in the 55th minute against the Timbers ended a 346-minute scoreless streak. … Michael Barrios leads Dallas with four goals. Jordan Morris leads Seattle with four. Morris has scored once in each of the last four matches. If he scores Saturday, he will set an MLS rookie record for goals in consecutive games, and he will set a Seattle club record for goals by a rookie. … All Sounders regulars were reported available. For Dallas, midfielder Alex Zendejas and defender Matt Hedges are out due to injury, and goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez (head injury) is questionable. … The assigned referee is Ricardo Salazar.
Quote: “It haunts us from the standpoint of how we reacted after we equalized the game. We basically put ourselves in the position to get through, and basically our reaction wasn’t good.” — Coach Sigi Schmid on Seattle’s 2015 playoff elimination at Dallas.
Next: Colorado Rapids, 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, CenturyLink Field.