SANDY, UT - MAY 26: Players of FC Dallas gather as a team before a game against Real Salt Lake before an MLS soccer game May 26, 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real salt Lake beat FC Dallas 3-2. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Nine games without a win seems like an eternity. It is hard to believe that since the Montreal Impact game that saw some of the best play out of this club - and some nice goals by Blas Perez and Brek Shea - that this club has yet to sniff three full points.
Well, the league slate is over for the month and now it is time for FC Dallas to turn their sights on the US Open Cup.
The bracket is out and Dallas has a chance to host the next two rounds if things do their way. Don't be shocked if the Hunts actually do their best at getting as many home games in this tournament as they possibly can.
Read on for more thoughts and notes going into tonight's third round game
There are just a few nuggets of information out there to point out for tonight.
No Brek, No Daniel Hernandez. 3rdDegree's Todd Date is reporting that both Shea and Hernandez will be sitting tonight's game out. Shea is still dealing with that turf toe while Hernandez is actually suspended for tonight's game due to his actions against the Seattle Sounders in last year's semifinal match.
Castillo a game-time decision. The young Colombian is still dealing with an ankle issue and is said to be about 85%. My money is on him not starting or even playing tonight. I know the Cup is important but so is having this kid healthy and dangerous for the long haul. With guys like Bryan Levya stepping up and Jackson Goncalves getting into form here, having Castillo out on the field isn't that important against a third division club.
Third-division factor. Yes Charlotte is a little team trying to battle one of the big boys. But Dallas cannot sleep on this club. Even though their league play in the USL-Pro isn't anything great to brag about this club has enough players that will want to prove themselves against a MLS club in a MLS stadium. This is a big chance for some of their players too, score a big goal or two and they'll get noticed.
Importance of the Cup. Just to throw it out there for those who don't know but this tournament is a big deal. The winner gets a CONCACAF Champions League spot from the US which could easily lead to bigger and better things.
Players to watch for Charlotte. The Eagles don't have a ton going for them right now. At 2-7-2, their season is going nearly the same as Dallas' is at the moment. They've only scored nine goals in league play and three of them come from Darryl Roberts - a former Supplemental draft back in 2007 from Toronto FC. Roberts spent a little time in Europe with Sparta Rotterdam before returning to the US to play with Charlotte. The Eagle's playmaker in the midfield is Colombian Jorge Herrera. The former Independiente and Millionarios will be the main player setting up the attack for this bunch - stopping him means stopping the Eagles.
Breaking out of the funk. This is the perfect time for Dallas to get out of their rut. Just look what winning the Canadian Championship did for Toronto recently. Dallas needs to assert their dominance in this one from the first whistle and not take the foot off the gas pedal. Like Schellas Hyndman recently said this club should be pissed about their situation and should want to do something about it. Taking their frustrations out in terms of running up the score or something like that against this club could be exactly what the doctor ordered.