FC Dallas 1-1 Seattle Sounders: Zakuani Notches An Assist In Return To The Starting Lineup

A greatly improved FC Dallas side look to prevent the Seattle Sounders from reclaiming second place in the Western Conference.

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Sounders Grind Out A 1-1 Draw Against Tough FC Dallas Side

Taking on a tough FC Dallas side in 100 degree heat on short rest was never going to be easy, and the Seattle Sounders were likely fortunate to leave Texas with a point after a scrappy match that saw four yellow cards and a scary clash of heads that forced a bloodied Osvaldo Alonso to be withdrawn from the game. A clearly exhausted Seattle spent the majority of the second half on the back foot, and after the hour mark it became apparent that the primary goal was to leave Dallas with a point in tact. Combined with San Jose's 4-0 shellacking of Chivas USA the result means that Seattle's already paper-thin Supporters Shield hopes have all but disappeared, but the point was good enough to leapfrog the LA Galaxy into third place in the Western Conference and keep second place Real Salt Lake within striking distance.

The return of Steve Zakuani was the story of the night, and it didn't take long for his presence to be felt; in the 20th minute, Zakuani found himself 1-v-1 on the wing and used his speed to find space near the touchline before sending a low cross against the face of goal that was tapped in by Mauro Rosales. FC Dallas would grab the equalizer in the 32nd minute after Blas Perez fired the ball from the edge of the area that was missed by Adam Johannson and put away by Jackson. Despite solid chances from each side, that would round out the scoring. The Sounders had moments of weakness defensively, but some excellent last-ditch defending and several stunning saves by Michael Gspurning preserved the draw.

The Sounders will now take a much-needed week off before hosting Chivas USA on Saturday. Seattle will then travel to face the Portland Timbers on September 15th. With the final two games of September coming against the San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps, the Sounders will need to make the most of those two winnable games in order to maximize their playoff positioning. This isn't the result Seattle will have been hoping for at the start of the night, but given the way events unfolded it was likely the best possible outcome. In MLS play, even the best teams have to pragmatic.

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Lineups For FC Dallas-Seattle Sounders Are Out, And There's A Surprise Inclusion In Seattle Starting XI

For the first time since suffering a broken leg that threatened to end his career, Steve Zakuani will be starting for the Seattle Sounders. Zakuani has made just two appearances totaling ten minutes since returning to MLS action this season, but after more than 500 days Sigi Schmid has penciled his name into the starting lineup. This isn't the final step in his road to recovery, but it's a very big one that's far nearer to the end than to the beginning.

Welcome back, Steve. We've missed you.

FC Dallas:

Starting XI: Kevin Hartman; Matt Hedges, George John, Zach Loyd, Jair Benitez; Brek Shea, Jackson Goncalves, Andrew Jacobson, Julian de Guzman, David Ferreira

Subs: Seitz, Pertuz, Rodriguez, Marcelin, Leyva, Hernandez, Sealy

Seattle Sounders:

Starting XI: Michael Gspurning; Adam Johannson, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez; Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert, Mauro Rosales; Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero

Subs: Ford, Burch, Scott, Carrasco, Caskey, Martinez, Ochoa

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