Neither Seattle nor Dallas has lost in MLS since March heading into Saturday's 7:30 p.m. game at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders, at last, are on a bit of a hot streak, but they’ll face an even hotter team Saturday.
League-leading FC Dallas comes to CenturyLink Field for a 7:30 p.m. game having gone unbeaten in its last nine games, tied for the longest active streak in MLS.
“It will be a good test,” said forward Eddie Johnson.
A win could get the Sounders into the top five of the competitive Western Conference, while a loss could push the them back into last place, where they wallowed until last weekend.
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“Dallas right now is the top team in our division, so it becomes a good measuring stick for us,” said coach Sigi Schmid, “but most important for us is we want to keep accumulating points.”
Seattle has recovered from the worst start in team history with a 3-0-2 run, and the Sounders have used early struggles to their benefit. The resolve shown in their season turnaround has provided a boost of confidence.
Midfielder Brad Evans said even amid the losses and the growing criticism from outside, there was never any clashing in the locker room.
“We’ve gone through ups and downs before, and I’m sure that we’ll continue to go through ups and downs,” Evans said. “No teams, save for a few, will be very successful throughout the year. But if we find ourselves in another rough patch, I think it says something that we can bounce back from that rather quickly.”
Panicking was never an option.
“If you panic, you start making knee-jerk reactions and everything else,” Schmid said. “It’s like if you miss a turn-off and you go, ‘Oh, I missed that turn, so I better turn on the next street,’ and you panic, and all of a sudden you found you’ve turned the wrong way on a one-way street — and it’s a bigger problem for you.
“It’s the same thing. When things aren’t going well for your team, don’t panic. Figure it out, keep working, and through work you’ll find your way again if you have the right ingredients.”
The Sounders hold a strong lead in the series with Dallas, with a 4-1-4 record head-to-head, including wins in three of the last four games. The visitors, however, will come in on a 6-0-3 run and as perhaps the biggest surprise in the league, especially after missing the playoffs last year.
“They’re a very confident team right now,” said Schmid, “so we have to play with a lot of confidence ourselves.”
Not a problem.
“We’ve got a bit of a run going on right now where we’re starting to come into ourselves and really find ourselves,” said Johnson.
• Sounders FC midfielders Steve Zakuani (groin) and Mauro Rosales (shoulder) are questionable. Defender Patrick Ianni missed most of the week with flu-like symptoms, but returned to practice Friday.
• Seattle hasn’t allowed a goal in 219 minutes, the longest active shutout streak in MLS.
• FC Dallas defender George John, a Shoreline native and UW product, won’t be available due to a knee injury, according to The Dallas Morning News.
• Reports out of Spain indicate Seattle has interest in Spanish midfielder Jose Javier Barkero, who plays for Levante UD, the former team of forward Obafemi Martins. The Sounders declined to comment through a team spokesman.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers