Sounders go for sweep of FC Dallas

[MLS: Wednesday] Twice this season FC Dallas has taken a lead against Seattle, and twice the Sounders have rallied to win. The teams play their third and final game of the regular season Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, MLS Live/Direct Kick). The Sounders are one of two teams who have already clinched a playoff spot and fourth-place FCD is squarely in the playoff tier yet hoping to catch Real Salt Lake and avoid a play-in game.

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 29:
Wednesday, September 24
9 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Seattle

The fourth- and fifth-place teams in each conference meet in a one-game knockout game, the winner of which faces the first-place finisher in the conference semifinals.

Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, who have scored 25 goals combined this season, burned FCD in the first two meetings. Dempsey scored twice, including a 30-yard free kick that glanced off the underside of the crossbar on its way over the goal line, in a 3-2 Sounders victory April 12. Martins assisted on both goals as Seattle again rallied to win, 2-1, May 7.

Seattle is near the end of a busy stretch: seven games in 25 days. It struggled Saturday in a 4-1 loss at New York that occurred just four days after a draining 3-1 defeat of Philadelphia in the Open Cup final. After the FCD game it has just two days’ rest before hosting Chivas USA on Saturday.

FCD blew yet another lead last weekend against the Galaxy, which rallied to win, 2-1, after Blas Perez had scored in the 62nd minute. He leads the team with nine goals but didn’t get much support up front, a problem that should be alleviated by the return of attacking catalyst Fabian Castillo. He sat out the L.A. game to rest up for Wednesday’s showdown, as did centerback Matt Hedges.

Castillo’s searing runs will stretch speedy Seattle right back DeAndre Yedlin, yet the Sounders must also be wary of rookie Tesho Akindele. He’s not scored in the last five games, though he’s registered two assists, and if he’s causing problems the Sounders can’t clamp down on Castillo and Perez. Akindele leads MLS rookies with seven goals and nailed a hat trick in a 5-0 rout of San Jose Aug. 16.

FCD has drawn two penalty kicks in the first two games. Michel converted both of them. Perez scored the opening goal in the April 12 game when a bizarre bounce carried the ball over keeper Stefan Frei for him to tap into the net.

The teams met at Toyota Stadium last season in the penultimate weekend and FCD captured a 2-0 victory. Michel chipped a free kick that Hedges headed into the net, and he got the second goal himself during a goalmouth scramble.

Midfielder Mauro Diaz left the Galaxy game in the 83rd minute with an undisclosed leg injury. As of Tuesday afternoon the FCD press office had not released an update on his condition.

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 29:
Wednesday, September 24
9 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Seattle
Friday, September 26
8 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. New England, NBCSN
Saturday, September 27
1 p.m. ET
Toronto FC vs. Portland
3 p.m. ET
D.C. United vs. Philadelphia, NBCSN
4 p.m. ET
Seattle vs. Chivas USA
7 p.m. ET
Vancouver vs. Real Salt Lake
7:30 p.m. ET
Columbus vs. Montreal
9 p.m. ET
Colorado vs. San Jose
Sunday, September 28
3 p.m. ET
Houston vs. Chicago, UniMas
8:30 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. New York, ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE

PTS (GP) TEAM W-L-T GF/GA

48 (29) D.C. United 14-9-6 45/34
45 (29) Sporting KC
13-10-6 43/34
42 (29) New England 13-13-3 41/40
41 (29) New York 10-8-11 48/42
40 (29) Columbus 10-9-10 41/36
---------------------------------------
38 (29) Philadelphia 9-9-11 45/43
37 (28) Toronto FC 10-11-7 39/43
33 (28) Houston 9-13-6 33/50
31 (28) Chicago 5-7-16 37/43
24 (29) Montreal 6-17-6 34/52

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS (GP) TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
54 (28) *Seattle 17-8-3 52/41
54 (29) *LA Galaxy 15-5-9 59/31
49 (29) Real Salt Lake 13-6-10 49/36
45 (29) FC Dallas 13-10-6 49/39
39
(29) Portland 9-8-12 52/48
-----------------------------------------
37 (29) Vancouver 8-8-13 36/39
31 (29) Colorado 8-14-7 40/53
28 (28) San Jose 6-12-10 33/41
24 (29) Chivas USA 6-17-6 23/54
*Clinched playoff berth.
------------------------------------------------
MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
24 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
19 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
15 Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy
14 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
14 Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy
13 Obafemi Martins, Seattle
13 Lee Nguyen, New England
13 Joao Plata
, Real Salt Lake
13 Chris Wondolowski, San Jose
12 Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia
12 Clint Dempsey, Seattle

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 30:
Thursday, October 2
8 p.m. ET
Philadelphia vs. Chicago, ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
Friday, October 3  
8 p.m. ET
D.C. United vs. Sporting KC, NBCSN
Saturday, October 4
6 p.m. ET
New York vs. Houston, NBCSN
7 p.m. ET
Vancouver vs. FC Dallas, UDN
7:30 p.m. ET
New England vs. Columbus
10:30 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Toronto FC
11 p.m. ET
San Jose vs. Portland, NBCSN
Sunday, October 5
3 p.m. ET
Colorado vs. Seattle, UniMas
5 p.m. ET
Chicago vs. Montreal
7 p.m. ET
Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 31:
Wednesday, October 8
7:30 p.m. ET
Toronto FC vs. Houston
10:30 p.m. ET
Portland vs. San Jose
Friday, October 10
8:30 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. Chicago
10 p.m. ET
Seattle vs. Vancouver, NBCSN
Saturday, October 11
4 p.m. ET
Montreal vs. New England
7 p.m. ET
Philadelphia vs. Columbus
New York vs. Toronto FC
9:30 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose
10:30 p.m. ET
Chivas USA vs. Colorado
Sunday, October 12
3 p.m. ET
Houston vs. D.C. United, UniMas
7 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy, ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 32:
Thursday, October 16
8 p.m. ET
Houston vs. New England, ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
Friday, October 17
10 p.m. ET
Portland vs. Real Salt Lake, NBCSN
Saturday, October 18
2 p.m. ET
Toronto FC vs. Montreal, UDN
3 p.m. ET
Colorado vs. FC Dallas, NBCSN
7 p.m. ET
D.C. United vs. Chicago
Philadelphia vs. Sporting KC
10:30 p.m. ET
San Jose vs. Vancouver
Sunday, October 19
3 p.m. ET
New York vs. Columbus, UniMas
8:30 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Seattle, ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 32:
Wednesday, October 22
9:30 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Chivas USA
Friday, October 24
8 p.m. ET
Chicago vs. Houston
Saturday, October 25
2:30 p.m. ET
Seattle vs. LA Galaxy, NBC
4 p.m. ET
Montreal vs. D.C. United
7:30 p.m. ET
New England vs. Toronto FC
8:30 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Portland
10 p.m. ET
Vancouver vs. Colorado, UDN
Sunday, October 26
3 p.m. ET
Chivas USA vs. San Jose, UniMas
5 p.m. ET
Columbus vs. Philadelphia
8:30 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. New York, ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
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