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Looking ahead at the rest of the schedule facing FC Dallas in a busy month
We're a little late on this one as we usually get the monthly previews out before the first game, but the chaos of the home opener is making this one a little bit late. As I mentioned in my post-match thoughts, the first month of the year has typically been a house of horrors for Schellas Hyndman as his squads typically jump out of the gates extremely slowly.
However, the early-season schedule for FCD provides many points for the taking as FCD has three home games and two road tilts against sides that were among the worst in MLS last season. Let's look at each game:
March 10 at Chivas USA - 4PM StubHub Center (or is it still HDC?) Time Warner Cable Sports/UniMas
The goats were fairly comprehensively beaten at home by Columbus last weekend in a match where the 3-0 scoreline may have flattered the Crew a bit, but the result was never really in doubt. Truth be told, it would be a pretty big disappointment for Dallas to not take three points out of this game against a Western Conference foe they really need to beat. An inability to win games against the worst teams in the league is what cost FCD a playoff spot last year and starting the season with six points would be a huge boost.
March 17 vs Houston Dynamo - 12PM FC Dallas Stadium (ESPN2)
FCD hosts the annual Texas Derby against Houston during MLS Rivalry Week in a game broadcast around the country on ESPN2. What a huge statement to the rest of the league it would be for Dallas to win this one against their arch rivals and take back the El Capitan cannon. I'm not sure Dallas will be favored in this one, but it will be an early season gut check.
March 23 vs Real Salt Lake - 730PM FC Dallas Stadium (Time Warner Cable Sports)
FC Dallas has never lost to RSL at home, though Jason Kreis' revitalized squad looked great in a 2-0 win at San Jose to open the season. It's tough to know how difficult this game will be right now, but any home game against RSL is one you want to win. FCD will be missing Blas Perez and Raul Fernandez for this one
March 30 at New England Revolution - 3PM Gillette Stadium (Time Warner Cable Sports)
Amazingly, this will be New England's home opener and we really know nothing about them yet as they were the lone team to not play on the opening weekend. FCD could still be without some internationals for this one and I think this will end up being a really tough game that Dallas would do well to get a point from.
So how many points would be a good haul from this opening month? We are still waiting to see if Dallas is the team we think and hope they are or if Saturday was more indicative of some problems, but I think it's realistic, with one win already under their belt, to hope for ten points from this month. A win against Chivas USA plus four points from the two home games would get you there. I think Dallas would be pretty pleased to come away from the first month and first five games with ten points.