FC Dallas(9-12-10, 37 points) heads to the Home Depot Center for the final time in the regular season to take on Chivas USA(7-17-7, 28 points) in a must-win game for the franchise if they want to realistically stay in playoff contention.
Chivas USA has been absolutely awful over the past two months having failed to win any of their last 11 games. Lets look at some notes from their collapse:
-Haven't scored in their last five matches. Last goal scored was at Seattle on September 8
-16 goals allowed in their last four home games(all losses)
-7 straight losses by a combined 18-1 score
And yet I still have a bad feeling about this one.
One step forward, two steps back George John should return to the starting lineup tonight, but it's looking like neither Jackson or Brek Shea will be available for this game. Jackson apparently picked up an injury in practice on Thursday while Brek Shea's nagging leg injury has apparently left him off the USMNT's upcoming roster, perhaps indicating that he will be unavailable for tonight. If they can't go, look for Villar and Castillo on the wings.
Playoff Situation A win for FC Dallas tonight would move them back to two points out of a playoff spot with two games remaining. After this game, Dallas has games at Seattle and vs Chivas USA while the Whitecaps host Portland and travel to Real Salt Lake. Should Dallas win tonight, you really feel like the season will come down to matching the Vancouver result vs Portland as the last week of the season(FCD vs Chivas USA and Vancouver at RSL) should see a two point swing in Dallas' favor.
Keys to the Game
No Hope Jump on the Goats' throats early on and this one becomes academic. Vancouver did it on Wednesday night and they cruised to a 4-0 victory. If Dallas doesn't give Chivas USA a reason to have hope, they will crumble. If Dallas allows CUSA to hang around and hang around...well the season could end with a thud.
Shutout With a pretty much first choice back line available for FC Dallas, there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to send Chivas USA to a sixth straight shutout. The Goats don't have one player this year that has scored five goals and with Shalrie Joseph given much of the defensive duties, there's just no punch up top that should give Dallas problems.
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Mike Rottersman; AR2 (opposite): Marlene Duffy; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 56 games; FC/gm: 27.5; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 8; pens: 7
Prediction (14-16 on the season)
I just have a very, very bad feeling about this one. I don't know why, but I worry that Dallas finds a way to score many goals in this one. I hope I'm wrong, but this one just feels like a trap.