FC Dallas travels to the Home Depot Center tonight to take on the Los Angeles Galaxy in another huge Western Conference matchup. For FC Dallas, a win tonight would put them 5 points clear of the Galaxy, a nice cushion given the injury problems of the early season, while a win for LA pulls them above FCD in the standings.
A couple players back Blas Perez will obviously return to the FC Dallas starting lineup tonight after serving a one game suspension while Andrew Jacobson also traveled to LA, though his place in the starting lineup is a bit more questionable.
Crazy things happen at least once a season when these two teams meet. Last year it was the freak May storm that stopped the game & then brought a spectacular Brek Shea winner in front of the 200 or so people that stayed through the late delay. In 2010, the wild Western Conference Final where FCD stunned LA 3-0, 2009 FCD beat LA 6-3 at the Home Depot Center, 2008 it was a 5-1 shellacking at the hands of the Galaxy that got Steve Morrow fired. You get the picture.
Full arsenal for Galaxy Omar Gonzalez may be out, but there's still Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, David Beckham, Mike Magee and Juninho. That's as salty as it gets in this league and pretty much in this continent. An FC Dallas defense that has performed very well over the last few weeks will get their stiffest test tonight.
Keys to the game
Get the counterattack humming You can't expect to hold the ball much against that LA attacking force, but what you can do is hit them on the counter. New England wrote the script on it about a month ago and for an FC Dallas team that plays best on the counter attack, there could be opportunity to snatch a couple goals.
Defensive cohesion Sometimes 1v1 defense can do the trick, but tonight is not one of those. When you have six players who can beat you like their front 6, you have to defense smartly as a unit which means stepping up together, communicating well and not taking any chances.
Finally a decently competent ref after a few weeks of suspect men in the middle.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar.
SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert;
4th: Alejandro Mariscal
Prediction(6-2 on the season)
This is not the game you want at the end of a week that's seen you head to the west coast twice. LA is rested, confident and ready, though they're not the dominant team they were last year. I think Dallas will get a goal in this one, but I'm skeptical that they can keep Los Angeles off the board. I could definitely see Dallas sneaking a 2-1 win, but I'm going the other way around.
2-1 LA Galaxy