After a poor 3-1 loss Aug. 4 against the San Jose Earthquakes, FC Dallas is eyeing a rebound during its trip to Seattle to take on the Sounders.
The team hopes to bounce back against the red-hot Sounders, who are unbeaten in seven matches after their 2-1 come-from-behind victory at Minnesota. Seattle has added Raul Ruidiaz and he has contributed to its recent run, adding a goal and an assist in his four appearances.
Dallas has struggled at CenturyLink Field. During the regular season, the team has been outscored 12-0. However, coach Óscar Pareja points out that this current group has been overcoming historic trends during the season.
“Similar question we had last week against Kansas City,” Pareja said when asked about the poor results FCD have had historically. “They are a good side. They’re a good team. They’re strong at home, but we going with the mentality that we had this year on trying to getting the points wherever we go.”
That mentality revolves around being strong on the road. The team boasts a 5-2-3 record on the road, tied for the second most wins away from home in MLS. The last road match for FCD was its 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City on July 28, with Michael Barrios scoring a hattrick.
“It’s one of those places where we struggle to get points,” midfielder Victor Ulloa said of Seattle. “It’s just like a Kansas City, but this club is achieving big things this year. We have to get credit to them, they’re good at home with their home crowd, with their stadium, with everything. They’re good at home so we have to respect that but this year, we’re going on the road and getting wins. Hopefully, we break that curse we have in Seattle and get those three points that we need.”
Ulloa has played a key part of the team’s success, providing stability in the midfield. His last start gave him 13 this season, surpassing his total number of starts last season. He has adjusted from once being a closer on FC Dallas to playing 90 minutes.
“It’s part of experiencing and going through it,” Ulloa said. “As a player, you always want to play and you want to help out the team as much as you can, whatever role you have. This year, I’ve started more games and I’ve played more, contributed more to the team and I’m happy with my performances. Hopefully, I can keep it going and one of the things I like to do is be consistent. Hopefully, we can keep rolling and get those three points so we can keep first place.”
The difficulty at CenturyLink is partly due to the turf, which can pose trouble for opponents not used to it. Pareja concedes that it can be an issue, but the club prepares for the turf matches by practicing on a turf field. It helps with the adjustment process and the different bounces the ball takes on the surface.
“Sometimes going to the turf is a challenge, but we [are] trying to omit that this year and not even think about it,” Pareja said.
The turf may play a role in Reggie Cannon’s status for the match. Cannon limped off the pitch during the loss against San Jose, aggravating a hamstring injury. He was on the side during practice Tuesday and absent on Wednesday. Dallas has multiple options to fill his spot, including Kris Reaves and Maynor Figueroa, who all got reps at the outside back role. Ryan Hollingshead can also play that role as a more offensive-minded player.
Reaves played right back in preseason and feels comfortable playing the role if called upon.
“Yeah I’m comfortable,” Reaves said. “It’s been a minute since I played there. I played in the other two positions in the back four also, so I just have to adapt and quickly get used to that spot but I’m comfortable.”
Where: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)
When: Aug. 12, 9:00 PM CST
Broadcast: Fox Sports 1; Radio- FCDallas.com/Radio (English), 1270 AM (Spanish)