FCD plays the second of a four game stretch against Eastern Conference foes tonight at RFK Stadium against a winless DC United side with one goal scored in three games. It's a game that, should Dallas win, will push them to a tie atop the Western Conference, if just for one night. Notes, keys, links, referee, form and prediction...
Brek is back I'd definitely expect Brek Shea to start tonight, especially with the news that Fabian Castillo is still being held out for one more game. It's Brek's first game back with FC Dallas after the Olympic debacle and all eyes will be on the Texan tonight on the left wing. Which Brek Shea we see out there tonight could decide FCD's fate.
Who is on the right? Carlos Rodriguez played for Panama Tuesday, flew back to Dallas Wednesday, trained Thursday and flew to DC with the team. Does he have enough fitness to give Schellas an hour on the right or does Bryan Leyva start on the right with Rodriguez coming on for the last 30-40 minutes. I'd do the second one, but we'll see.
DC Absences No Andy Najar tonight for United who is still with Honduras, while Marcelo Saragosa is back in Brazil handling some family issues. That likely means Perry Kitchen in defensive midfield with Nick DeLeon & Danny Cruz on the wings.
Party at the pub FC Dallas is hosting a big watching party for this one at the Allen Wickers in Plano. You should head out there as you can win lots of cool stuff and chat with Scott Sealy who sounds exactly like Shaka Hislop. See you there...
Keys to the game
All About Effort I've seen combined about 90 minutes of DC so far and I can definitely say this is the worst of the four teams Dallas has played so far, but that doesn't mean a whole lot. As Schellas said on Wednesday, a winless team can be the most dangerous kind of team to play because they want to get that first W so bad. Where I think last week at Kansas City was a lot about tactics, I think tonight success will be decided from a pure effort standpoint. If Dallas' work rate off the ball is as good as it was against Kansas City, this is an extremely winnable game.
Late Drama Three of the four goals scored against United on the season have been in the last 30 minutes of the game. If FC Dallas can keep everyone on the field healthy, you could see a late winner from Dallas either from a starter or a reserve like Luis Perea or Bryan Leyva.
Get the outside backs involved One of the things that was really missing from the Sporting game, mostly due to their intensely high pressure and Pertuz at left back, was outside backs pushing forward throughout the game. When the backs push forward, it frees up a ton of space for guys like Shea & Leyva to operate. With DC more of a methodically building offensive team rather than a quick counter-attacking team, Dallas' outside backs can push forward with a little more freedom and try to get involved.
FC Dallas - 2-1 L at Sporting KC, 1-1 draw vs Portland Timbers, 2-1 W vs New York
DC United - 0-0 draw at Vancouver, 3-1 L at Galaxy, 1-0 L vs Sporting KC
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda.
SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer;
4th: Andrew Chapin
Inconsistency a concern for FC Dallas midfielder (Dallas Morning News)
United players aim to "Take Back RFK" (MLSSoccer.com)
Fabian Castillo out, Ricardo Villar returns (3rd Degree)
Scouting FC Dallas (Black and Red United)
Friday Kickaround DC United vs FC Dallas (Washington Post)
This one is there for the taking, but there are some distractions. The lineup should look much different from the Kansas City game, for the better, but there is the huge question of how well Brek Shea and Carlos Rodriguez will play as well as the trouble of playing a DC team that will be amped for this one. This is certainly the toughest game so far to predict (I'm 3-0 so far) and I'm not really too confident in any of them. I'm going homer call on this one and picking the better team. Blas Perez terrorizes the DC defense for two goals.
2-1 FC Dallas