FC Dallas-Sounders Preview

The Associated Press

The Seattle Sounders' four-game win streak began with a victory over FC Dallas, which hasn't been quite the same since that defeat.

Wednesday night's matchup could be easier for the Sounders, who will face a Dallas team that will travel to the Pacific Northwest short-handed.

Seattle (6-2-1) rallied twice from a goal down to win 3-2 at Dallas on April 12. Clint Dempsey scored twice as part of a month in which he had seven goals and two assists.

FC Dallas (5-3-1) was 4-0-1 entering that game - its best start in franchise history - but things aren't looking quite as good for first-year coach Oscar Pareja's club now.

The biggest concern is playmaker Mauro Diaz, who missed Sunday's 1-0 loss to New York with a knee injury. The club has denied a report that Diaz, who has three goals and three assists, could be out for the season.

Je-Vaughn Watson was sent off in the loss to the Red Bulls and is suspended Wednesday. Midfielder Kellyn Acosta and defender George John are out.

"Dallas is a tough team, they've got lot of speed," Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. "They lost Watson with a red card on Sunday. I don't know if Diaz will be back from injury, I know Acosta's out so they'll be a little different."

Schmid's team won 2-1 at home over Philadelphia on Saturday even though Dempsey did not have a goal or an assist for the first time. The Sounders rallied from a goal down at halftime, with Obafemi Martins and Chad Marshall scoring.

Not only will Seattle have an extra day of rest, it has the luxury of playing at home - where it has won three straight over FC Dallas.

"This one, everything's equal, they're turning around, they've got to travel, which makes it a little bit harder on them but we're in an OK place with this game," Schmid said.

Midfielder Brad Evans made his first start since March 15 against the Union but scored an own goal. Seattle has failed to keep a clean sheet in six straight games.

Dallas failed to score for the first time Sunday in its third loss in four games and first match without Diaz. It was forced to play with 10 men for the last 80 minutes after Watson's reckless challenge.

One bright spot was 20-year-old Danny Garcia, who started in his MLS debut and had two shots on goal.

"It was impressive to see from a kid who shows personality," Pareja told the league's official website. "He carried the team in many aspects and periods of the game. He knows there is a long way to go still, but we won a lot of stuff."

Defenders Zach Loyd and Michel will return from suspensions as they try and help slow down a Sounders' attack that leads the league with 2.2 goals per game - including an MLS-best eight from Dempsey.

The Sounders are atop MLS thanks to their longest win streak since a five-game run Aug. 25-Sept. 13.

"Obviously it's nice but there's still a long way to go," Schmid said. "The season has a lot of swings with it."