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Matchday 21: FC Dallas at San Jose Earthquakes

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FC Dallas (19 points 4-9-7) fresh off their first win in three months, heads to Silicon Valley tonight to take on the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes (40 points, 12-4-4) in a rematch of the scoreless draw in Frisco a week and a half ago. For FC Dallas, it's a chance to make up some of the points they dropped at home in a game they're not expected to win while for San Jose it's a chance to potentially extend their Western Conference lead to 7 points over RSL. Kickoff is slated for 10PM on NBC Sports Network(actually more like 10:21PM)

Game Notes

M*A*S*H Update It's actually getting pretty close to a full team again. Ferreira has games under his belt while Jackson should be fit to play some part in this one. The biggest names missing the game are still Blas Perez, Ugo Ihemelu, George John and Bobby Warshaw.

Rematch FC Dallas and San Jose played to a wild 0-0 draw last Saturday night that saw multiple San Jose shots cleared off the line by FCD. To Dallas' credit, however, they are the first and only team to have shut out San Jose on the road this year, though things could be very different tonight at the Buck Shaw Stadium toybox field.

Ferreira's Back 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira has produced five key passes in each of his first two starts and looks to be improving with every minute on the field. Could tonight be his breakout game?

JDG Debuts Julian de Guzman is available for his first FC Dallas appearance since being traded here from Toronto FC last week. It will be fascinating to see if he starts or is brought off the bench in the second half.

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Keys to the game

Stopping Wondo Dallas figured it out last time, limiting Wondolowski to just one real chance in the game so whatever they did before...do that again.

Aerial Battle Last time FCD and San Jose met it was an aerial war with Alan Gordon winning the headballs more often than not. For Dallas to be successful tonight, they need to keep aerial balls from getting into Gordon and not giving up silly free kicks/corners.

Nothing to lose Play like there's nothing to lose tonight...that doesn't mean deviate from the gameplan, but FCD can play without pressure and enjoy things. The winless streak is over and the Portland/LA home games coming up are must win. Tonight is a bonus.

Referee

REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Corey Parker; 4th: Mark Declouet

MLS Career: 225 games; FC/gm: 25.6; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 58; pens: 45

Prediction (9-11 on the season)

For whatever reason, I just have a good feeling about this one. The monkey is off FCD backs and San Jose cleaned out all their goals in the 5-0 defeat of RSL. If Dallas can keep their heads and not get a red card in this one, I think they've got a chance to get a result. It's going to be enormously tough to keep SJ off the board, but I think Dallas can grab a couple behind Ferreira and Castillo

2-2 Draw