Wow just 6 regular season games left, where does the year go? Dallas heads into tonight's clash with New York in a bit of a funk having won just 1 of their last 5 MLS games, a miraculous comeback at Kansas City while the Red Bulls are reeling and winless in eight sitting out of the playoff picture. Kickoff is set for 7:30PM and is on channel 372 Time Warner Cable.
New York Defense Decimated NYRB will be without three of their regular defensive starters, no Rafa Marquez, no Roy Miller, no Jan Gunnar Solli while Tim Ream and Frank Rost are questionable. Rost has been veeeeery mediocre this year in goal for New York so I kind of hope he starts because the Dallas attack needs to net a couple tonight.
Other Injuries and what not Dallas will be without Brek Shea, Bruno Guarda and Marvin Chavez but Fabian Castillo returned to practice this week and could feature on the bench tonight. Maicon Santos will be back at forward while Jackson slots back to right mid where he is much more comfortable.
Playoff picture Dallas sits two points behind Seattle and a point ahead of Real Salt Lake so obviously tonight's game is huge. Seattle hosts DC while RSL entertains Kansas City so keep one eye on your phone tonight checking the scoreboard, just don't spoil the Oklahoma game for me.
Beautiful weather, big crowd Looking at the past schedule, tonight should be the first MLS game in Frisco that the temperatures have been below sweltering in months. A look outside shows its 82 degrees right now and the sun is beginning to peek out so get out to PHP early, set up your tailgate, join the march to the match with Brek, Garber and the Rhine's then go inside and cheer like Bobby would want you to.
Keys to the game
Villar and Cruz must link up Cruz and Villar, while individually decent, have not been a good pair. Watch tonight if Villar and Cruz can work together rather than trying to do the same thing. Having Jacobson back will help with this...speaking of...
Win the midfield battle While New York will have a second choice defense, the midfield with Tainio, Lindpere and Dax is still very decent while there's still that one French dude as well. Andrew Jacobson and Daniel Hernandez will need to be mobile and alert all night because if Dallas can boss the midfield, they'll boss this game.
Contain Dane Richards Dallas really struggled on Wednesday defending down the flanks with Benitez and Loyd getting caught out of position on multiple occasions. New York has a guy in Dane Richards that absolutely flies down the wings, don't let him get behind you.
Referee: Jair MARRUFO
MLS Career Stats: 121 games, 3.2 Y/g, 29 R
Including Playoffs: 131 games, 3.2 Y/g, 32 R
MLS 2011: 15 games, 2.0 Y/g, 2 R
Assistant Referees: C.J. MORGANTE and Corey ROCKWELL
Fourth Official: Abiodun OKULAJA
I get this wrong every week these days so don't take my prediction with any sort of clout. New York is a decimated team this week without a first choice defense while Henry is banged up but should play. Dallas takes a 2-0 halftime lead while Agudelo grabs one late to make things interesting
2-1 FC Dallas
FC Dallas: Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Jair Benitez, Daniel Cruz, Ricardo Villar, Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson, Jackson Goncalves, and Maicon Santos
Bench: Chris Seitz, Jeremy Hall, Jack Stewart, Bobby Warshaw, Fabian Castillo, Ruben Luna, and Maykel Galindo
New York Red Bulls: Frank Rost, Chris Albright, Tim Ream, Stephen Keel, Carlos Mendes, Dane Richards, Tainio Teemu, Dax McCarty, Joel Lindpere, Luke Rodgers, and Juan Agudelo
Bench: Bouna Coundoul, Matt Kassel, Stephane Auvray, Brian Nielsen, Medhi Ballouchy, Corey Hertzog, and John Rooney