Coming to you live from Tucumcari,NM(When I planned this vacation, FCD was in the Supporter's Shield race and we didn't even know that there would be a mid-week Wild Card round. Poor timing to say the least). The MLS playoffs have arrived. Tonight FC Dallas hosts the New York Red Bulls in the first MLS Wild Card round game with the winner advancing to face Sporting KC in a 2-legged Eastern Conference Semifinal. This season, FCD drew New York 2-2 at Red Bull Arena in a game where Thierry Henry scored a brilliant equalizer late. Dallas fell to NYRB 1-0 in Frisco during the middle of their historic scoreless run.
No Luke Rodgers The biggest absence for either team will be NYRB's english forward Luke Rodgers. The stocky striker seems to be at the heart of every Red Bulls win and he scored the game winner in the 1-0 defeat of Dallas in September. It looks like it will be Henry and Agudelo up top for New York.
Everyone rested and available Most of the starters were rested this past weekend and the ones that played pretty much took the weekend off anyways. I've read quotes from Brek Shea saying that he's ready to go and rejuvenated while Marvin Chavez always gives you a ton on the outside wings.
Up against World Series Tomorrow's 8PM kickoff(FSC) will be going directly up against World Series Game 6, the potentially championship-clinching game for the little Rangers. While those that read this site probably won't be swayed by that, it's an unfortunate problem for a game that needs an intimidating atmosphere.
Key to the game
Play hard, all out and win. That's pretty much all that matters for the rest of the season.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar.
SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Peter Manikowski;
4th: Edvin Jurisevic
This is a really tough one to get a feel for. Dallas has been very up and down over the past month, but I can't bet on New York without Luke Rodgers. They've won just 1 game this season that he hasn't played in and I think the Henry-Marquez duo can do more to hurt New York than help many times. Dallas wins this one. Please.
2-1 FC Dallas