The sixth game in a killer stretch of nine games in 36 days sees FC Dallas(3-5-3, 12 points) head to their sister club Columbus Crew(2-4-2, 8 points) for a match where Dallas will be looking to end a five game winless run as will Columbus.
Returning players! Blas Perez definitely returns, Daniel Hernandez likely returns, Shea likely makes the bench and Ugo remains out. For FCD, it at least opens up the options a little bit and strengthens the bench likely moving Scott Sealy down with James Marcelin. What will be really interesting to track is if Shea starts, who starts at center back next to George John with Benitez presumably moving back to left back. Will it be Hedges or Pertuz?
Columbus decimated If there's one team that Schellas could not complain about being shorthanded against, it's the Columbus Crew. Balchan, James, Heinemann, Vargas, Marschall, O'Rourke, Duke, Mendes...all major parts to that team that are likely out today. Just an amazing number of injuries.
History against Columbus FCD and Columbus are 16-16-8 all time in their 40 meetings while Dallas is just 1-10-6 all-time at Crew Stadium.
Struggling from the run of play It's been five games and change now since FC Dallas has scored from the run of play. Since Brek Shea scored late in the Montreal win, Dallas has just two penalty kicks and nothing more. Columbus has allowed 10 goals in 8 games this season.
Keys to the game, form, referee and prediction after the jump
Keys to the game
Don't change anything It sounds a little crazy to say that a team who hasn't won in five games shouldn't change anything, but if the effort from Wednesday is reproduced with Blas Perez at forward, Dallas will very likely win this game. The service was good and the movement was fluid. Now it's just a matter of getting that service with Super Raton on the pitch.
Castillo's final product It's practically all we talked about after the Seattle game. Fabian Castillo is putting together some fantastic stuff, but there's no final product. If he can put together that final pass or that shot on frame tonight, Dallas could get a few on a depleted Columbus defense.
Jacobson getting forward Pushing Jacobson into the attack is when Dallas is at their best. It may not be possible with Daniel Hernandez on the pitch with him, but tonight will be an interesting test against a Columbus team that doesn't have a super dominant central midfield presence to deal with.
FC Dallas L T T L L
Columbus L L T L T
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo.
SAR (bench): Corey Parker; JAR (opposite): Jason Cullum;
4th: Matthew Foerster
Prediction (7-4 on the season)
So much of this game depends on if Dallas can re-create their effort from Wednesday. While some of the team is tired, a couple of key players, Perez & Hernandez, are fresh which should help things. When a game is tough to read, but I feel like Dallas is the better team on paper, I'll go with the road draw. Perez with the goal in a draw that neither team is really happy with.