Dallas begins important stretch against Seattle

FC Dallas returns home on Sunday following a three-game road trip to face Seattle Sounders FC in what is the beginning of a crucial final stretch to the season for the Hoops.

Entering the weekend, Dallas trails Vancouver by five points for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and with back-to-back home games against Seattle and the Whitecaps to start the month of September, there is a real sense of urgency surrounding the club.

"It's a great opportunity for us," Dallas midfielder Andrew Jacobson said. "We're still in the hunt and right there. We get a chance to play Seattle and then everyone obviously knows we're chasing Vancouver. It's a great chance for us and I think everyone knows it and senses it."

Dallas had a three-game winning streak snapped in its last match, a 2-0 defeat against the Los Angeles Galaxy, but if the club is to harbor any hopes of making the playoffs, they must respond immediately.

Time is running out on FCD with the team having already played 28 games this season, more than any team in the West.

And with a three-game road trip to follow the two-game homestand, Jacobson and the rest of his teammates know what is at stake.

"I think with the team we have and the talent we have, we're pretty good with our backs against the wall," said Jacobson. "There's really nothing to lose now. It's all or nothing and I think we have the guys that can step up."

Seattle can deal a serious blow to the playoff hopes of the home side on Sunday with a win, and based on their current form, Sigi Schmid's side will be tough to handle.

Striker Fredy Montero scored a hat trick in Seattle's 6-2 win over Chivas USA last weekend, giving the Sounders 13 goals from their last four league matches.

Montero in particular has been in top form, netting six goals during that time to lead the club.

"He���s playing well," Schmid said of Montero. "He's very sharp right now and very confident and obviously that's a good thing for our team."

Montero is now tied with Eddie Johnson for the team lead in goals, giving Seattle one of the most potent duos up top in MLS.

The Sounders could be a bit tired after a 3-1 win against Caledonia in Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday night in CONCACAF Champions League play, but the match holds plenty of significance for Seattle as well.

Entering the weekend, the Sounders are tied with Real Salt Lake for second place in the West with two games in hand, and they will be trying to maintain a good run of form that has seen them win four of their last five matches in league play.