Apr 21, 2012; Vancouver, BC, CANADA; Could tonight be Jon Top's big chance?
While it's frustrating to have your MVP suspended for a game of this magnitude, it's actually a little bit exciting to see how Schellas Hyndman adjusts the team without their start Panamanian forward. There will be games throughout the year where he is not available and tonight is the first look at Schellas' backup plan, if there is one, when Perez can't go.
It's nearly impossible to know exactly what the plan is, because since day 1 of him arriving, Blas has played in practice and in the games as the starting target forward in the middle so there has been no need for Dallas to practice any other way. Even in the 4-4-2, Perez plays pretty much the same way that he does in the 4-5-1. There's a myriad of ways Schellas can go tonight and I'll present a couple.
Move Brek Forward
At least once in the pre-season tournament in Disney, Brek Shea was moved up to forward and the results were decent. It's not a crazy thought for Schellas to move Brek into the middle of the park up top for this one and tell him to just go out, play your game, drift around and try to find a goal or two. He's got the work rate to play similarly to Blas and he's infinitely more of a threat from outside the box.
It wouldn't be a huge shock to the system for FCD to move Carlos Rodriguez to left midfield and have either Zach Loyd or Jair Benitez play left back. The experiment would be interesting too because you never know what you could stumble upon with putting Brek in a free role up top. Schellas is a coach that will generally do whatever he can to get his best XI players on the field and this is the way to do that. You could also potentially play Fabian Castillo in this same role.
Give one of the backups a shot
If you want to keep Brek Shea at his left mid position, you could move either Scott Sealy or Ruben Luna into the forward position, pairing them with Fabian Castillo up top or playing them as a lone forward. While a 4-4-2 would possibly work, I do not believe there is any merit in putting either of these players up top by themselves. I saw first hand in an MLS reserve match about a month ago, Nat Borchers absolutely owned Ruben Luna playing 45 minutes with the reserves in a rehab stint and I could see that very much happening again.
Scott Sealy is a shifty forward, but not really built to play the 4-5-1. He does a decent job of holding the ball up, but his decision making after that is fairly suspect and I'm not sure this would work.
Any other formations or players you could see starting tonight?