First Kick fever has hit the Dallas area as FC Dallas Stadium will host a sold out encounter between FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls in the first ever game broadcast on the NBC Sports Network. For FCD, this is a chance at redemption after getting dumped from the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs by the very same NYRB team while for the New Yorkers, it's a chance to prove they've come into 2012 with a new attitude and a new focus. Our pre-game threads will take the same form as they did in 2011 with team news, keys to the game, links, referee and a prediction...basically everything you need to prepare for the game. Let's go!
DF10 on the Sidelines The biggest news relating to the starting XI is the absence of David Ferreira who is still nursing an Achilles injury picked up in Orlando. Expect FC Dallas to move to a 4-4-2 formation with Brek Shea(or Fabian Castillo) and Blas Perez up top in Ferreira's absence.
Standing Room Only FC Dallas Stadium is officially sold out for tomorrow's game. You can still get a standing room only ticket if you waited until the last minute, but there will be no seats available except for scattered singles. Also, the brand new beer garden and their on-field seats will be debuted tomorrow as well.
New York Absences For the Red Bulls, two of their big pieces will be missing as well with Wilman Conde unable to regain fitness and Rafa Marquez remaining suspended for his incident against Los Angeles in the playoffs last season. Of course, New York will have two familiar faces in Dax McCarty and Kenny Cooper likely in the starting XI.
Keys to the Game
Benitez vs Richards In watching previous FCD vs NYRB games, one of the recurring themes is Jair Benitez and Dane Richards battling the entire game. Richards is a guy that has given Dallas problems many times in the past and shutting him down is key in a team where Henry is really the one that needs to beat you.
Manage Your Emotions These two teams are going to come out extremely jacked up with the full house and national TV audience. Managing the first 15 minutes and not overcommitting yourself is going to be very important for Dallas. A counterattack sucker punch from New York would be a heavy blow.
Feed Mighty Mouse Blas Perez will have a national audience for his first ever MLS game. You're either going to love him or hate him, but the fact remains that as he goes is likely how FCD goes. For FC Dallas it's essential to get service into the Panamanian as he could terrorize an NYRB backline without a leader.
MLSSoccer - First Kick Fever Gripping Dallas, Says Loyd
Dallas Morning News - FC Dallas Season Preview
3rd Degree - Kenny Cooper Enjoying Change Of Venue
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Eric Boria; JAR (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 126 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 29; pens: 41
Traditionally, FC Dallas does not do well in opening day games at FC Dallas Stadium and they don't play well in front of the big crowd situations. However, FC Dallas is a better team than a New York squad without their starting defensive midfielder and starting central defender. Not having Ferreira is a big blow, but the combination of Brek Shea, Fabian Castillo and Blas Perez causes the Red Bulls back line a ton of trouble. Give me the homer call.
FC Dallas 2 New York Red Bulls 1