FRISCO, TX - MAY 22: Fabian Castillo #15 of FC Dallas battles to get past Jamison Olave #4 of Real Salt Lake during the first half of a soccer game at Pizza Hut Park on May 22, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
It's a familiar opponent tonight for FCD as they take on Orlando City SC, a team they saw twice in 2011 and defeated twice in 2011. Dallas first met Orlando in this same tournament last year, defeating them 1-0 on a goal from Milton Rodriguez. The second, and much more important, meeting came in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup last season as the Florida side came to Frisco and game FC Dallas a huge scare before the Red Stripes eventually beat them 3-2 in a wild final few minutes of the game.
About half the players from the starting lineup in the USOC game remain on the Orlando side that drew 2-2 with Toronto FC on Saturday, a game OCSC probably should've won. A few names on Orlando City you may recognize include John Rooney, the brother of Wayne Rooney, as well as 2011 FC Dallas draft pick Charlie Campbell. Former Dallas forward Jamie Watson is on the team as well, but he did not play in the TFC game and I believe he is injured. Their backup goalkeeper is Sean Kelley, another guy who had a swim through the 2011 Dallas pre-season.
The bottom line is Orlando is about as good as it gets in the second division, obviously shown by their 2011 USL Pro Division championship. Dallas, though weakened by defensive injuries last season, struggled mightily against them in 2011 and tonight will certainly be a dogfight.
What to look for from Dallas after the jump
Ferreira Starting? Probably the biggest question is the status of David Ferreira for this one. El Torito started and went 90 minutes against BK Hacken on Saturday, but I'm not sure if Schellas will want to start him again so soon. If he doesn't start, look for Dallas to play the 4-4-2 with Perez & Castillo up top.
Can Castillo keep his form going? Fabian Castillo has been all guns blazing this pre-season and seems to be getting better by the day. Watch him closely tonight and the work he does whether it's in a free role with Blas up top or out on the right.
Ferreira & Perez connection If Ferreira and Blas Perez are on the pitch tonight, watch closely how each one moves when the other has the ball. The reports I read from Saturday's game have indicated that they're beginning to gel together and tonight is another key game on that road to March 11.
As a reminder, the game kicks off at 7PM central and will be streamed live at MLSSoccer.com