Tonight Dallas' CONCACAF fate will be decided as the red and white battle Alianza FC of El Salvador in the second leg CONCACAF Champions League qualifier at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco. Dallas brings a vital 1-0 lead into tonight's game through Jackson's fantastic game winner in the first leg. This game should shatter the PHP heat record of 102 degrees at kickoff as temperatures currently sit near 110 degrees, a record for August 3 in Dallas.
East side closed The east(sunny) side of PHP will be closed tonight, preventing fans from sitting in the sun. This is something that has never been done at PHP for a Dallas game before and should actually work to create a better atmosphere as fans packed in tend to get a little rowdier. The only thing I worry about is a huge walkup crowd of rowdy El Salvador fans that park themselves next to the prawn sandwich crowd. Could get interesting tonight....P.S. The beer garden will be open.
No Maicon Santos The newest Dallas player, Maicon Santos, will not be available for selection tonight and it is still unclear whether he will be able to participate in CONCACAF Champions League play given his appearance on the Toronto FC Champions League roster.
Hernandez Returns, does Jacobson? The injury situation of Andrew Jacobson is a big question mark for Dallas. He didn't even make the bench for the Chivas game, but saw some time towards the end of the first leg against Alianza. Was he being saved for a start tonight? We know Daniel Hernandez will return in midfield.
Rest of the lineup I expect the same lineup from the first leg against Alianza except for possibly Jacobson returning in place of Guarda, though Bruno was good in the first leg.
Keys to the game
No set pieces It's been discussed in a few other players and I very much agree that the only way Alianza is going to do a whole lot of damage to FC Dallas tonight is on set pieces. As Ugo said, Alianza is a team that will flop to earn free kicks.
Weather the storm We saw in the first leg how the high pressure game of Alianza in the first 30 minutes gave Dallas all sorts of trouble, but once the first half was weathered there really was no problem with Dallas keeping possession. Our guys are going to know what pace they need to play at to keep fitness up in this heat. Will Alianza?
I just don't see Alianza having much of a chance tonight. Their high-pressure game was the only thing that kept them in the game in San Salvador and they can forget about that type of game tonight. An early goal ends this one and I really hope it doesn't get ugly.