Those who've read my work over the years at WVHooligan (cheap plug, I know) know I'm a big backer of what the schedule means for each club. I always say "look at the schedule". Well looking at this month's schedule for FC Dallas and you'll see it is a massive one.
When you include the US Open Cup game, the CONCACAF Champions League play-in game and the regular slate, FC Dallas has eight games in July. Yes, eight. That's one more than the big month of May that we discussed a while back.
(read on to see what is in store for Dallas in July)
MLS Games (6; 3 home, 3 away):
Even six games in a month is a big deal. With three of them away and some out of league games squeezed in, we'll see some depth tested in this month for sure. Here's a brief look at who Dallas will be playing this month in league play.
Columbus Crew (home, Sat. July 2) - things get started this Saturday as we all know with the second leg of the Pioneer Cup. I won't go into any sort of preview as I've already discussed the Crew and Daniel will have his game preview up tomorrow.
Real Salt Lake (away, Sat. July 9) - A big road meeting at Rio Tino just days before the USOC match here in Frisco. No doubt this is a big match for both teams as RSL still has games in-hand against Dallas at the moment. Getting a win or even a draw against RSL away from home will be huge.
DC United (home, Sat. July 16) - One of the most winable games on the month's schedule in my book. We'll know by then how this Dwayne De Rosario deal has worked out or not. DC always seems to play pretty tough here in Dallas and if DeRo can get their season back on track this will be a challenging game for sure.
Toronto FC (away, Wed. July 20) - What is it with Dallas and Toronto playing midweek games? Anyways, Dallas hasn't done all that great at BMO Field in the past and this could be the first game we'll see Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans in a Reds uniform. It will be interesting to see how those two new DPs handle playing in MLS against one of the top teams in the league.
New York Red Bulls (away, Sat. July 23) - Another big road game just shortly after playing in the mid-week. I hate the Wednesday-Saturday swing but Dallas is a team that has done it before and won't be fooled by having to play so many games in such a short time either. It will be Dallas' first meeting with Dax McCarty since he was given up in last year's expansion draft. By then we'll know where NY is at, right now they're a team that hasn't won in a couple months.
Chivas USA (home, Sun. July 31) - A tough home match potentially after playing that Thursday in the CCL down in El Salvador. This will be one of those games were we'll see depth tested with this club. I still think Dallas is more equipped to handling these short turn arounds better than most MLS sides.
Hopeful outcome in July: I think it is realistic to get no less than three wins in this month. Columbus will be a tricky game and two of the road games will be tough (NY and RSL). If Dallas can get wins in the games they're expected to and get draws in those two tough road games, then that will put FCD at 14 points on the month, pushing the season tally to 45. I'm pretty confident that will help get FCD one of the three automatic playoff spots in the Western Conference if that is the case.
Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
Real Salt Lake (home, Tues. July 12) - We know what the USOC means to this club apparently given Hyndman's recent comments and given how he played seven starters against Orlando. Both teams want this trophy, so I'd expect more of the same in terms of starters vs. reserves playing. Fact remains that RSL has yet to win here so you better believe Jason Kreis will pull out all the stops if he has to.
Hopeful outcome: FCD wins and advances to the semifinals against either LA or Seattle in August.
CONCACAF Champions League
Alianze FC (away, Thurs. July 28) - A late kickoff (9pm) for this one but we know the club wants to make an impression in this game. I've been told the club wants to do very well in this tournament by getting to the group stage and showing off what they can do. We've discussed how tricky this team could be for Dallas.
Hopeful outcome: FCD wins or draws and sets themselves up for advancing to the group stage with a win in the return leg here in Frisco in August.