By the time this game ends, we will know a hell of a lot more about the playoff chances of FC Dallas(9-12-9, 36 points) takes on first place San Jose Earthquakes(18-6-6, 60 points). Most angles of this game have been covered but I'll rehash a little bit and give a couple things to think about as we hit the business end of the season. Let's do this...
Injury Report George John is out for this one, but that's about the only big name Dallas will be missing. For San Jose, a couple of pieces, Simon Dawkins and Ike Opara, are out. However, they'll be getting Marvin Chavez and Shea Salinas back in the fold.
Wondo Scoreless Wait, what? Yep, FC Dallas is the only Western Conference team Chris Wondolowski hasn't scored against. Jinx.
Way up the coast Hundreds of miles up the western coast, Vancouver will be hosting Seattle at 8PM on NBC Sports Network as a nice little appetizer to kill the 90 minutes before the Dallas game. Should Vancouver fail to win this evening, Dallas can take over a playoff spot for the first time since late April with a win.
Super Raton vs San Jose Something that is very, very interesting to me is that Blas Perez has not played against the 'Quakes this season. He's the kind of player that you really need experience defending against to know his game and I'm really going to be watching him closely to see what kind of havoc he can cause this evening.
Keys to the game
Feed Brek I really feel like tonight is going to be Brek Shea's game where he comes full circle and breaks out. I'd love to see Dallas make a point of going through him on the left side early in the match to get him into things.
Cuidado San Jose is a team that almost dares you to attack so they can hit you on the counter. It's going to be key for players like Andrew Jacobson and Julian de Guzman to be at the top of their game in shutting down those counterattack-starting passes while the outside backs need to be extremely cognizant of not getting caught up field. Looking at you Benitez
No Fear There's nothing to lose and no reason to be nervous. Of the three games left, this is the toughest one and even a point for Dallas would be a fantastic result to keep things alive. It's almost as important that Vancouver fails to win as it is that Dallas wins.
Prediction 13-16 on the season
It's tough to make a prediction without knowing the Vancouver result because I definitely believe it will affect how Schellas Hyndman coaches the second half. If the Whitecaps win, Hyndman will throw the kitchen sink at San Jose while if the Whitecaps don't get that result then protecting a point makes sense. Either way, I'm going to say Dallas draws this one. Go Seattle.