FC Dallas vs Chivas USA: Preview and Prediction

The two clubs split their season series in 2013.

Week three sees FC Dallas return to Frisco as they host Chivas USA Saturday night at Toyota Stadium. The two clubs split their season series last year, with the lone meeting in Frisco being a 0-0 draw on July 4th.

FC Dallas Notes:

Big Tex debut - David Texeira made his debut for FC Dallas last weekend against Sporting KC. He came off the bench late in the match for Mauro Diaz and helped earn a free kick that lead to Matt Hedge's game-tying goal.

Student against teacher - Last year in Colorado, Chivas USA manager Wilmer Cabrera was an assistant under new FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja. The two coaches were also former teammates and have a history that dates back to their teenage years.

Quick stats from SKC game - Here are the Opta stats from last week's game:
Hedges: 12 clearances, 94% passing efficiency.
Diaz: 24 successful passes at 86% efficiency.
Moffat: 28 successful passes at 90% efficiency, three interceptions. Jacobson: Team‐high five interceptions.
Castillo: Four successful dribbles.
Perez: Team‐high 75 actions, six headers won.

Keys to three points:

This could very well be a tricky game for FC Dallas. Chivas has always seemed to play FCD better than most clubs do in MLS. Last year's season split is proof that just because Chivas can be a very bad team at times, you can never take them for granted.

So far Chivas has surprised plenty of people. Their 3-2 win to open the season at home against a decent Chicago team was enough to gain my interest in them. Same can be said for last week's 1-1 draw against Vancouver. Chivas got the draw despite being down a man for nearly the entire match.

The big change this year isn't just the fact that Major League Soccer finally bought the club and is looking to rebrand them in the future here. No, it also isn't just Cabrera and what he has brought to this club. It is really coming down to some key players like midfielder Mauro Rosales.

The fact that the former Seattle DP is back in his old MVP form is dangerous for FCD to deal with. Rosales will be on his usual right flank position and will be looking to set up the Chivas attack from there. So far this season he leads the team with three assists and most of those assists have gone to Erik Torres. If FCD stops these two plays, you can almost bank on the home side to come away with three points here.

FCD has to control the center of the park in this one. Chivas will look to probably play hack-a-Diaz here. Sporting KC did so a week ago and it certainly helped their cause. Diaz was not nearly as effect as FCD fans would expect him to be and that also caused forward Blas Perez to sit a little further back in the attack. FCD has to push the envelope in this one and not rely on Perez to come back to the ball nearly as much as they did a week ago.

Hopefully the midfield duo behind Diaz is Hendry Thomas and Andrew Jacobson this weekend. That pairing should be able to neutralize the Chivas midfield and attack and allow Diaz space to find players open on the wings like Fabian Castillo, Je-Vaughn Watson and Andres Escobar.

Defensively, FCD has to stay home and not allow Chivas to find the open passing lane. Dallas did a good job of this a week ago against SKC but it came at a cost to the attack.

Prediction:

This is another game that really could go either way for me. I think because the game is at home and the weather could cause some issues (rain), it should favor FCD. A lot comes down to slowing Rosales and limiting his time on the ball. If FCD does that, they'll easily win this one. I think it will be tightly contested though but you win your home games. I'm sure Oscar is preaching that.

FC Dallas 2, Chivas 1

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