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FC Dallas against SMU tonight: What to watch for from the Ponies

The Master faces off against his old team tonight.
The Master faces off against his old team tonight.

I was hoping to get this out earlier, but all the roster news of today has kind of derailed that. 

FC Dallas takes on SMU tonight at Pizza Hut Park at 7:30 PM in their last early pre-season tuneup before heading to Orlando. If you've got nothing going on tonight and don't go to this game, well you're just a bad soccer fan as temperatures should be absolutely wonderful out there. 

We all know what to watch for from FCD tonight...rookies and trialists fighting for their lives while starters look to shake off the rust.

SMU, however, has 4 or 5 legitimate MLS  prospects to take a look at tonight and will put up a serious fight against FCD and their former coach, Schellas Hyndman

Jump for some players to watch on SMU tonight

Look out for SMU forward #16 Juan Castillo. The freshman forward from Dallas Texans Houston is one of the faster players on the ball I've seen and just needs to improve his touch to be a real MLS-caliber talent. Castillo had 10 goals and 4 assists in 20 games this year and will give the FCD centerbacks lots of trouble. 

In the midfield watch #6 Zach Barnes. This is a guy with about a 50-50 chance of being drafted by FC Dallas in the next couple of years. Barnes is a central midfielder with the smooth passing of Eric Alexander and the toughness of Daniel Hernandez. Starting 17 games in his freshman year, Barnes had five goals while providing a ton of great play as their box to box midfielder. Barnes was a Parade All-American in 2010 and the Gatorade Texas Soccer Player of the Year coming out of high school at Flower Mound.

#17 Robbie Dershang is a wide midfielder who will get under the skin of the FCD players tonight. Yet another one of SMU's star freshman, Dershang is an interesting player who reminds you a bit of Brian Mullan. He's got decent speed and a good soccer IQ. Watch this guy tonight as he loves to mix it up and never backs down.

If I had to pick a dark horse from the SMU squad to have a future in MLS it would be outside back TJ Nelson. He's a very similar player to James Riley in Seattle and is another one to keep an eye on. 

#7 Diogo De Almeida is their central defender who partnered with Seattle Sounders draft pick Juan Cruz. He's played in almost every game in his three years at SMU and is certainly a professional prospect for the 2012 draft. 

#10 Arthur Ivo is another guy who scouts have had their eye on for awhile. 2010 was a breakout year for Ivo who tied for the team lead in goals with 10. Arthur was the Conference USA Co-MVP, second team All-American and the attacking engine for SMU. 

Kenny Cooper's brother Joe #30 also plays for the Ponies.

Head on out to Pizza Hut Park tonight, you've really got no excuse not to. Be sure to leave a comment later letting us know what you thought of things.