SANDY, UT - JULY 9: Head coach of FC Dallas Schellas Hyndman gestures to his players during a game against Real Salt Lake during the first half of an MLS soccer game July 9, 2011 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real Salt Lake beat FC Dallas 2-0. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
We had discussed back at the beginning of July at how big of a month it would be for FC Dallas. I thought then that Dallas could have gotten anywhere between 11 and 14 points on the month and that is exactly what the club did in July going an impressive 5-1-2 in all competitions.
Things some-what cool down for Dallas in the month of August. Of course the weather won't get any cooler here in town but we should still see another strong month as long as everyone remains healthy and the team brings in the right additions before the transfer window closes (possibly more on that later on this week).
Dallas has only four league matches in August but with potentially three CONCACAF Champions League games and a USOC semifinal, the month could be fairly busy.
(read on for a deeper look at the schedule)
Major League Soccer slate (1 home, 3 away)
Los Angeles Galaxy (away, Aug 6th) - Big showdown with the Galaxy this weekend after the CCL game. Either Dallas will have an emotion high or an emotional low going into this game, which is always tricky to deal with. Thankfully the character of this club should be able to overcome either one fairly quickly. The Galaxy are playing extremely well right now and have a 14-game unbeaten run to go with it. Getting anything more than a point would be a bonus in this game.
Philadelphia Union (away, Aug 13) - The Union are a very tough team at home and while Dallas saw success against them here in Frisco, I can't imagine it will be the same at PPL Park. Philly did manage to drop a rare game at home last week to Colorado so saying you can't win there isn't the case. Dallas does match up well with the Union due to the speed up front and with how strong the defense is in the back. Philly is a team you want to go up on top against first or else it will be a tough battle back against them.
Seattle Sounders (home, Aug 20) - The lone home game of the month in league play for the club and it certainly won't be an easy one. Thankfully Dallas has had plenty of success against the Sounders over the last couple years, especially at Pizza Hut Park. The heat should still be a factor by then as well.
Sporting Kansas City (away, Aug 27) - Last league match of the month and it will be a doozy. We know what Sporting did to Dallas when they came into town in June. I wouldn't expect the same result this time around though up at the beautiful LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. While KC has a 12-game unbeaten run of their own going on, I can't imagine Dallas not doing showing up strong for this one as an act of revenge.
Overall thoughts for August in league play: Based on the teams Dallas has to play in the league games this month, you couldn't ask for a more brutal stretch of games. I don't believe KC is as good as they unbeaten run suggests and I think Dallas has the ability to get at least some points in LA and in Philadelphia. It could be one of those months that we see them draw a couple games and really I'd be fine with that. The club is already at 42 points, which should be plenty to get them into the playoffs this season. At this point I think its almost safe to say any more points that the club gets will determine their position more than them just making the post season. So if I had to put a number of points to make it a successful month in league play I'd say 8 points would be good enough for me.
CONCACAF Champions League matches:
Alianza FC (home, Aug 3) - The second leg of the play-in round for Dallas. With a 1-0 lead in the series all Dallas needs is to hold Alianza to one or zero goals. They can't lose the game 2-1 because they'd be out on the away-goals rule. I think they should be able to hold the lead and make it to the group phase.
(Speaking of the group phase - should Dallas win and move on this is the schedule for August in the CCL group stage:)
UNAM Pumas (away, Aug 17) - Yup, first match is in Mexico. Ouch. There is no easy way of spinning this one, if Dallas can get a draw it would be a great result for the club and for the league. A win would be, well, we know what a win in Mexico would mean.
Toronto FC/Real Esteli (away, Aug 24) - First two matches are on the road, Dallas has to hope that Toronto makes it through to the group stages so there is at least some familiarity in the travel and with the club that they are playing. A trip to Nicaragua in this stretch would be absolutely brutal. I do believe Dallas could win there if they had to make the trip but I'd much rather see Toronto.
Lamar Hunt US Open Cup:
Seattle Sounders (semifinal round, away, Aug 30) - The all important semifinal in the USOC. We've heard Schellas Hyndman talk about how important this Cup is to the club, since it is named after their founder. I know Hyndman and the team are really gunning for this trophy, a win and they get to play either the Chicago Fire or USL-Pro side Richmond Kickers. I'd be willing to say that whomever wins this game is heavily favored to win the Cup this year.