Sounders-FC Dallas Preview

The Associated Press

The Seattle Sounders hit a rough patch following their last game against FC Dallas, but the club is back on track.

So is FC Dallas following the longest winless stretch in franchise history.

Playing on the road for the third time in nine days, Seattle goes for its fifth win in six games Sunday night when Dallas opens a critical two-game homestand.

After Fredy Montero scored both goals for the Sounders in a shutout victory at Dallas on May 9 - their franchise-record fifth consecutive win - Seattle followed with an 0-4-5 skid in MLS action.

The Sounders (12-6-7), though, return to Frisco on a 5-1-1 run in league play that has them within reach of San Jose's Western Conference lead.

They are 6-1-1 across all competitions over the past five weeks, including Thursday's 3-1 CONCACAF Champions League victory over Caledonia AIA in Trinidad and Tobago.

"I was really happy with how we've played and how we've dealt with a lot of adversity this month and a lot of travel," coach Sigi Schmid told the team's official website.

Four of Seattle's six games this month are on the road, including a trip to Honduras on Sept. 19 to face Marathón with a spot in the CONCACAF quarterfinals at stake.

Now focused on securing the West's top spot, the Sounders are hoping their recent scoring surge continues after totaling 19 goals in their last seven MLS matches.

Montero has seven goals during that span - not counting one he had Thursday - after notching a hat trick in a 6-2 win at Chivas last Saturday. The club has been getting big contributions from others in that seven-game stretch, with Eddie Johnson scoring four goals and Mauro Rosales assisting on nine.

"We're getting goals from different people now, which is really important," Schmid said. "... I think we have a lot of different options and that makes our team stronger."

The return of 2010 MVP David Ferriera has strengthened FC Dallas (8-12-8) and given the team playoff life following a 13-game winless stretch.

Out 15 months with ankle and foot injuries, Ferreira has two goals and six assists in 11 games since coming back and Dallas is 5-3-3 during that span.

Blas Perez's return from a foot injury also could help the team make the postseason for a third straight season. Perez was a second-half substitute last Sunday in his first game in three months, but FC Dallas had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 2-0 loss at Los Angeles.

That capped a stretch of three consecutive road games for Dallas, and another one lies ahead after back-to-back home games against teams it's pursuing for a playoff spot - Seattle and Vancouver (Sept. 15).

"We get a chance to play Seattle and then everyone obviously knows we're chasing Vancouver," midfielder Andrew Jacobson told the team's official website. "It's a great chance for us and I think everyone knows it and senses it."

FC Dallas will likely face Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning for the first time. He was sidelined with a hip injury when the teams met in May.

Seattle has won its last two games in Frisco and is 2-0-2 all-time there.