Drew is busy being a responsible homeowner, so I will be your preview-writer in his stead. Someday, I will own my own home and fill it to the brim with cats. So many cats.
Dallas is playing its last game under Hyndman, and with the exit door awaiting, it'll be on the team to provide a solid farewell for the gaffer, and also to send fans into the offseason as happy as is possible in this situation.
FC Dallas Notes:
End of the line for Hyndman. This is it. This is the moment so many fans have been pleading, screaming, and crying for the past few years. Schellas Hyndman will take the field one last time as the manager of FCD. It'll be interesting to see who he plays and what tactics he chooses to adopt. Will he reward loyalty as a final farewell, or will he trot out the reserves?
Whither Jackson? While Jackson and David Ferreira were apparently apologetic after being rebuked by both the league and club for their behavior, will they see any time on the field? Apologies aside, it's hard to see Jackson taking the field after tearing off his jersey in a huff and not even sticking around the stadium after being subtituted.
Final Audition. A few players will be very keen on making a good impression before the roster changes come about. Kenny Cooper, Michel, and Zach Loyd won't be able to undo their entire season's worth of disappointing performances, but they might be able to convince the team to give them a second look. If they play exceptionally well and display their true potential, it would make the decision a lot trickier.
Scouting San Jose:
The San Jose Earthquakes have advanced in the Champions League, and their midweek match might play into their final game given their lack of rest. That coupled with Ramiro Corrales retiring will give the Quakes a bit more motivation than a team might normally have in the last game of a playoff-less season.
The Quakes have been noticeably better, and as usual have been relying on their standard troublemakers to create bash-brothers havoc around the penalty area. Their tactics have stayed more or less the same the entire season, but their resurgence also points to a few adjustments in the way the team handles their defense. It's no longer nearly as leaky, and they have held some decent attacking teams scoreless or to just one goal, including Real Salt Lake, Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Keys to Three Points:
Precision Passing. Dallas' strengths are out wide, and despite their improved form, the Quakes are still susceptible to defensive breakdowns that involve speed and quick one-two passes. Dallas doesn't hold possession much, but that's partly due to their "attack attack attack" strategy when they hold the ball. Dallas' natural game-plan matches up decently against the Quakes in the attacking areas of the game, so if they can just keep their passes precise, they should find some success.
Stamp Your Authority Dallas is coming off a great, feel-good win. There's no reason the team should not play their shirt off against the evil Quakes, especially when their manager will see them under his charge for the final time. Make no mistake: the players might butt heads with Hyndman, but they all generally like him very much as a person. One last victory for him is something they all want. In order to do that, and to potentially impress the incoming coach, they will need to stamp their authority on this game and not be gun-shy because they're away. They need to command this game to have a good chance at winning.
I think we'll see some goals, and I'm betting on a draw. The optimist sees a win as a very real possibility. Dallas has better players in a general sense. Also, our mascot is way better.
Dallas 2, San Jose 2
What do you all see happening in this game? Let's hear it below.