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FC Dallas vs DC United: Matchday 8

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FC Dallas, winners of three of their last four, travel to the nation's capital to take on a DC United side that could be best described as inconsistent. Prior to defeating Seattle 2-1 on Wednesday night at home, United had been throttled by New York and Houston by a combined score of 8-1. 

With 17 goals given up in 8 games played, DC has the worst defensive record in the entire league, however they have been tough at home with just one loss in four games. 

Game notes and keys:

Shut down Davies and Wolff Simply put, if you shut down these two, you pretty much shut down DC United. I think these guys could cause a lot of problems for the Dallas backline tonight as they're two very tactically strong and quick players, something that can give George John problems. Jackson and Zach Loyd will have to be at their best on the outside wings as both of these guys will drift outside. 

Feed the beast Brek Shea is one of the hottest players in the league right now and looks in fantastic form. As Martin Shatzer told us, DC can struggle with height so Dallas should look to attack through Brek Shea as the focal point tonight.

Keep reading for more keys, links, referee and game prediction

Midfield dominance In my opinion, the center midfield of Dax McCarty and Clyde Simms can be easily dominated by Daniel Hernandez and AJ as long as they bring the same game they brought against Los Angeles. That will free up a ton of space for Eric Avila to work his magic with Jacobson making late runs. Remember, Eric Alexander scored a goal and an assist playing in the role last season. 

Keep McCarty quiet We all know the formula for stopping Dax and that's making him receive the ball deep in the midfield. Dax is deadly on the counter attack and set pieces, but he really won't hurt you too bad playing balls from the midway line. No stupid turnovers from the backline and dumb free kicks will keep Dax quiet.

Keep your head Today's referee is Baldomero Toledo who has averaged almost a red card in every game this season and 45 red cards in 110 games. 

Miscellaneous It should be the same lineup as last week except I would anticipate Loyd in for Jair obviously. Avila has definitely done enough to earn another start while today is another chance for Castillo/Chavez/Shea to get on the same page.

Links

Big D Soccer Coverage: Behind Enemy Lines | 3 Questions (Dallas) (DC United) | Practice Live May 4

Steven Goff of the Washington Post writes that Dax McCarty is ready to face his old teammates

“It will be a strange feeling,” he said of Saturday’s reunion at RFK Stadium. “They’re good friends of mine, like brothers to me. I’m looking forward to it, more than anything. It will be fun to see them, but once we step on the field, it’s all business and you have no friends.”

Robert Casner of FCDallas.com writes that 

Avila has been studying Ferreira

 

“He told me to just relax and play my game, how I always play in practice and that I’d be fine,” Avila told reporters after Wednesday’s training session. “’Take your time, breathe, relax and be comfortable.’”

 

 Match preview from MLSSoccer.com including Bobby Rhine's game preview

“It was a tough week,” Josh Wolff said to The Washington Post. “We had some real conversations and some honesty with each other. Not that it was throwing anybody under the bus, but there was some realness to it. At times, it’s necessary. For this team to move forward, you have to have those. Tonight was a good response.”

 

Referee

REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Kevin Duliba; JAR (opposite): Rob Fereday; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal MLS Career: 110 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 45; pens: 43

Prediction

Dallas is playing very well right now and DC has yet to put together two solid performances in a row. This is a game that will be won and lost depending on how Hernandez and Jacobson assert their will on McCarty and Simms. I like Dallas' chances in this one which means I'm giving them the kiss of death. I believe Dallas scores a goal in each half with Ruben Luna getting his first as a pro late in the game.

2-0 FC Dallas