FC Dallas vs New York Red Bulls: Preview, Scouting and Prediction

Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

New York has won their last three games and currently lead the Eastern Conference.

It is crunch time for FC Dallas as they head to the Big Apple to face the New York Red Bulls.

New York has done well this season under first year head coach Mike Petke. Currently they sit atop of the Eastern Conference standings and are winners of three in a row.

Dallas has yet to win a game in Red Bull Arena since it opened a couple years ago.

FC Dallas notes:

More lineup change. I noted this in one of the last previews but Schellas Hyndman has used 25 different lineups htis season and this game will likely be 26.

Five for five. Fabian Castillo has certainly done well over the last month of play. That much we have noted on here several times. He is averaging one assist a game over his last five games. Not to shabby from the speedy young winger.

September 22. This will mark the third time in club history that they are playing on September 22. The last time the club played on this date, they earned a 2-2 draw at home to New England back in 2010. You may recall that game for some late heroics by David Ferreira and Jeff Cunningham.

Scouting New York:

The Red Bulls are are tricky team to figure out. In one week they'll dominate a team like Sporting KC at home and then they'll drop the next game to Chivas USA. They are certainly about as hot and cold as any team in the league but they have the talent to overcome a lot of things.

Lead by Thierry Henry, the Red Bulls play through the Frenchman in the attack. Henry's nine goals and eight assists make him the focal point. Lately he has been lined up in the attack with newcomer Bradley Wright-Phillips and that has allowed Henry to sit a little deeper. Wright-Phillips is able to do some of the dirty work that Henry doesn't want to do at his age and it frees him up to play the dangerous playmaker that he is.

Defensively, New York has a solid back four with former FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty sitting just above them. As McCarty goes, so does the defense. If McCarty is having an off game, it puts more pressure on the defense to rise to the challenge. Former RSL defender Jamison Olave leads the defense in the back as well. He will likely be going head-to-head with Perez on Saturday. Olave loves to control the penalty box and if Perez can get the open space on him, it could help matters out along the wings.

New York uses a pretty standard 4-4-2 formation with Henry up front. The big question this weekend will be the status of Tim Cahill. Adding the Australian to the midfield would be a huge boost for Petke and his attack. Cahill has been dealing with injuries as of late but is said to be good enough to go in this one.

Lineup projection:

Goalkeeper: Luis Robles; RB: David Carney; CB: Markus Holgersson, Jamison Olave; LB: Kosuke Kimura; RM: Jonathan Steele; CM: Dax McCarty, Michael Bustamante; LM: Eric Alexander; FW: Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Keys to Three Points:

Play wide. I talked about it in the goal breakdown, good things happen to those who play the width of the field. Dallas needs to use the width of the field in this one to break down the Red Bulls. New York is prone to sending their fullbacks forward in the attack, leaving the space there for guys like Castillo, Jackson, Mauro Diaz and Je-Vaughn Watson available to get in behind them.

Perez in space. Dallas will want to isolate Perez a little in space if they can to draw out Olave. The more Perez is able to get time on the ball and in space, the better as he does a great job of opening up the attack. Bringing Perez the ball in space (and time) also will expose the New York back four more since it will draw Olave out of his comfort zone.

Set pieces. One again, it will come down to set pieces for FC Dallas. They'll need to make the most of their chances on them as New York is a team that gives up a ton of free kick chances as they are in the top third of the league in fouls committed.

Prediction:

This certainly won't be an easy one but the must-win factor is definitely there. I think if Dallas is able to open up the attack early on in this one and get their chances on goal, they'll have a shot. New York hasn't really played anyone good in their current three game winning streak and they definitely haven't played a team like Dallas that will push them around. In fact the last team that pushed them around and played with pace was Chivas USA and the Goats surprised the Red Bulls on that day winning 3-2.

I'm not saying Dallas should win this game because of that but there is a certain chance in this one that Dallas cannot afford to pass up. New York fans are weary of the ability that Dallas has on the ball too. But at the end of it I think the best chance here is a draw for Dallas. New York is still talented enough and with Henry leading the attack, he'll find a way to do damage like he always does.

New York 1, Dallas 1

What is your score prediction for tomorrow? Put it in the comments below.

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