Two games into the 2014 season and despite some shaky moments, Dallas has earned what has to be considered two positive results with a win at home and a draw on the road against the defending MLS Cup champions. This week, FCD hosts Western conference foe Chivas USA.
In three meetings last season, the two teams finished dead even at 1-1-1, each scoring four goals in the three games. They also both have a win and a draw so far this season.
The same all too familiar injuries are still affecting FC Dallas this week. George John and Raul Fernandez continue to recover. Zach Loyd has yet t appear this season and we keep wondering if each week is the week he makes a return. Hendry Thomas missed last week and it remains to be seen exactly what role he may play this week.
A revamped Goats lineup has been fairly impressive so far this season, led by former Seattle Sounder Mauro Rosales and loanee Erick Torres, who has scored in each of the first two games. Augstin Pelletieri started each of the first two games at CM but will miss this match with a suspension from a red card against Vancouver. There are a few options for Chivas, but you may see Thomas McNamara drop from forward into the midfield, while Adolfo Bautista or Luke Moore start at forward.
Goalkeeper: Dan Kennedy; RB: Eric Avila; CB: Bobby Burling, Carlos Bocanegra; LB: Tony Lochhead; RM: Mauro Rosales; CM: Oswaldo Minda, Dani Fragoso, LM: Leandro Barrera; FW: Tommy McNamara, Erick Torres
Mauro Rosales vs. Benitez/Michel - Whoever starts on the left side of defense will have their hands full with the Argentine playmaker. Chivas has relied heavily on his service in their first two games. The ability to keep him bottled up and limit the service he can provide will be hugely important.
Erick "Cubo" Torres vs. Dallas CB's - Torres has 9 goals in his short time with Chivas and is a major part of their attack. Torres is the kind of player that will take advantage on any defensive mistakes that are made. Matt Hedges and likely Stephen Keel will need to play solid positionally and have good communication to not leave the space Torres could use to hurt Dallas.
Keys to Three Points
This is a game in which FC Dallas should be able to generate chances. Chivas will push numbers into the attack and leave potential holes and space for FCD to work. This game has Mauro Diaz written all over it. If Dallas is to be successful, the game will have his fingerprints all over it. The Hoops need another performance like he had against Montreal, unlocking the defense and dictating the game to the competition.
And of course as highlighted in the previous section, another big key to the game will be containing the dangerous duo of Rosales and Torres. Much like our own Mauro, Rosales can unlock a defense with creativity and skill, although he does it from the wing instead of the center of the park.
I think with the attacking prowess of these two teams, this has the potential to be an entertaining game with the chance for lots of goals. I think Dallas will feed off the home crowd and outscore Chivas for a home victory.
How do you the fans see this one turning out? Answer the poll and explain your answer in the comments section.