Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Columbus Crew

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas hopes to close on an undefeated month by grabbing three points at Crew Stadium, something FCD has only done once.

FC Dallas starts the MLS season back up traveling to Columbus for a match against the Crew.

The Hoops hope to continue on their undefeated month, following a defeat over Colorado Rapids June 7, a tie against Portland Timbers, then two back-to-back U.S. Open Cup wins.

However, Crew Stadium isn't the biggest fan of FCD. Dallas has only been able to walk away with three points out of Crew Stadium once in 18 meetings.

Injury Report

Columbus will be without a handful of players Saturday night.

Out: Ethan Finley (Post Appendectomy), Kingsley "Fifi" Baiden (L Groin/Hip Strain), Josh Williams (L Groin Strain).

Disabled List: Matt Wiet (L ACL Reconstruction).

International Duty

As Costa Rica takes on Greece Saturday in the Round of 16, Columbus defenders Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis will be hoping to land some playing time and move their international squad into the quarters.

Projected Lineup

The Crew could be playing with an interesting 3-3-2-2 formation.

GK: Steve Clark; LB: Tyson Wahl; CB: Eric Gehrig; RB: Chad  Barson; LM: Ben Sweat: CM: Kevan George; RM: Hector Jimenez; LAM: Bernardo Anor; RAM: Tony Tchani; LF: Justin Meram; RF: Ben Speas.

Key Matchup

Tesho Akindele vs. Eric Gehrig - With Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo out, Akindele has a good chance of getting the start up top. He'll have a lot of room to make up for the loss of two key players to FCD's attack. Akindele will work a lot of one-on-ones with Gehrig, and will have to provide some type of offense for the Hoops.

Keys to Three Points

Finding offensive options - Castillo was playing better than he has before his suspension has him off the pitch until the end of July. Dallas will be forced to a new attack style and to really work the ball around rather than Castillo opening up attacking threats. If FCD can just work the ball down the sides and capitlalize on set pieces, Dallas should be fine.

Contain Columbus attack - The Crew will be looking to fill a hole up front of their own with Federico Higuain most likely out of Saturday's match. If it is Meram and Speas playing upfront for Columbus, Keel and Loyd will have to contain them and not let them get past for easy looks at Raul Fernandez. All Columbus players are trying to step-up and get Columbus out of their runt.

Don't let off - The month of June has been great for FCD. Close the month with another win. Although we might be without players up top, we're starting to get players back into the lineup from injury. The midfield has to set the tempo for Dallas and each player has to play to it and keep the energy up. This no time to get sloppy and return to a slump.

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