Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Carolina Railhawks

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas travels to face Carolina RailHawks in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup. Carolina has already defeated Chivas USA and LA Galaxy at home during the tournament.

One game stands in the way between FC Dallas heading to the semifinals of the US Open Cup.

FCD heads to Cary, North Carolina to take on a feisty NASL team in Carolina RailHawks.

Injury Report

There is no injury report to be found for the RailHawks. If a player is absent Wednesday for the game, it'd be kind of hard to tell.

Probable Lineup

Although the RailHawks played in a unique 4-5-1 lineup in an international friendly against Puebla this past Sunday, Carolina will probably return to the standard 4-4-2 formation as usual starters make their way back to the field.

GK: Scott Goodwin; LB: Connor Tobin; CB: Kupono Low; RB: Austen King; LM: Nazmi Albadawi; LCM: Jun Marques Davidson; CAM: Enzo Martinez; RCM: Ty Shipalane; LM: Daniel Scott; F: Cesar Elizondo, Zach Schilawski.

Key Matchup

Scott Goodwin vs. Tesho Akindele - The backup-rookie goalkeeper for Carolina stepped up huge in the USOC quarterfinals against LA Galaxy. After receiving Player of the Round honors for his shutout performance, Goodwin hopes to ride on that momentum against a talented FCD offense. Akindele heads into the match riding another wonderful goal against Philadelphia Union in MLS action and will want to continue to prove himself as one of the best rookies in the game. Who will get the upper-hand Tuesday? Great striker or great keeper? It should be a good one.

Keys to Advancing

Set the tempo early. Former FCD manager Colin Clarke now manages Carolina. While Clarke managed the Hoops, he played a very quick and intense game that won FCD a Western Conference championship in 2006. Clarke continues that same type of play with the RailHawks. FCD can't allow Carolina to establish how the game is going to play out. Possession in the opening 15 minutes will be crucial for FCD's game.

Stop the sloppy defense. In last Friday's Fourth of July game, it was bothersome seeing the Union pack numbers into the box and get that goal to tie the game up. FCD can't let players run freely into the box. Anytime Carolina is in their attacking third, Dallas needs to be tight on the RailHawks and clear the ball out. Carolina may be NASL, but they know how to get a ball to the back of the net. They did it against LA Galaxy and even did it against Liga MX Puebla FC... with their bench players.

Send balls into the box. FCD has done a fine job working the ball down the side and getting some good looks off goal at crosses. Dallas also saw success sending a ball over the top with an easy chip for Akindele to smash into the back of the net. Play a little more freely on the attack and send that ball into the eighteen. The strikers Dallas have are easily capable of making any cross in a goal scoring opportunity.

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