FC Dallas is back at home to kick off their final week with two games. First up is a visit on July 4th from Chivas USA.
While Dallas is currently on a four game winless run against Chivas USA, they hold the edge in the all-time series against the Goats in Frisco by a 5-2-5 record.
FC Dallas Notes:
Hot feet of Super Raton. While the month of June was a bust for FC Dallas as the team went 0-1-3, it was however a big month of production for veteran forward Blas Perez. The Panamanian scored two goals against Colorado and one against Philadelphia. He did all of that while dealing with international duty with Panama and a lovely stomach bug that kept him on the shelf for the Panama-USA game.
Good with the ball. According to the OPTA stats, no other player in MLS has completed more successful dribbles than midfielder Jackson. The Brazilian leads the league with 115 attempts and 41 completed dribbles.
Value of Ferreira. July 4 is pretty special for David Ferreira is it marks his return last year to the game after a nasty injury. Since last July when he returned against Toronto FC, the club has netted 52 points in league play. That is a record of 13-6-13, over a full season that would be a pretty good point total. He also has 15 assists in those matches, another total that would likely lead the league.
Scouting Chivas USA
What can you say about Chivas USA? The team is in the bottom of the standings for a reason, they're just not that good. One thing to quickly mention is the revolving door that is this club too, so far this season a grand total of 30 players have appeared for Chivas USA. It is hard to get any consistent momentum going when you put out new players and formations each week.
Defensively Chivas is the worst team in MLS at the moment, giving up 31 goals in 16 matches. That is nearly two goals a game.
They've also only scored 15 of their own, only D.C. United has scored less this season.
This past week the Goats said good bye to four players while welcoming in former US National team captain Carlos Bocaengra. The veteran defender won't be available for today's match.
Scouting this club is pretty tough given how frequently they change personnel on the field. But they are one of three clubs to get all three points from Dallas this season. If they play similarly to how they did in March, it could be a long evening for Dallas. Back in that match the Goats used their physical play and speed on the counter attack to beat Dallas 3-1.
Luckily Dallas has dealt with a lot of clubs with speed since and has been able to find success against them. The possession game will be key as Chivas still likes to do a dump and chase approach. The key up front is slowing down a guy like Tristan Bowen, their current leading scorer (with just two goals on the year I might add), and finding a way to frustrate their young midfield lead by rookie Carlos Alvarez.
Figuring out Chivas USA's lineup is almost like knowing the winning lottery numbers. One thing we can figure out is that the formation Dallas saw back in March won't be a 3-5-2, instead it will resemble more of a 4-1-4-1.
Goalkeeper: Dan Kennedy; RB: Carlos Borja, CB: Walter Vilchez, Mario de Luna, LB: Josue Soto; RM: Martin Ponce; CM: Carlos Alvarez, Marco Delgado, Gabriel Farfan; LM: Jorge Villafana; FW: Tristan Bowen
Edit: Bowen is suspended on a yellow card accumulation, so Chivas will have to turn to someone else in their attack like Jose Correa.
Keys to three points:
Keep feeding the Perez. Seriously, when you have a hot player like Perez, just get him the damn ball in the box or in space and he'll take care of the rest. Chivas didn't get to see Perez in the last meeting as he was still serving a suspension to begin the season. Perez adds a different dimension to the Dallas attack with his ball holding skills as well as his ability to just create something out of nothing.
Speed on the wings. Chivas is young and quick on the wings themselves but Dallas has spark speed on the wings. If Dallas can control the possession game and work it wide with Jackson and Fabian Castillo (when he is in there of course), then it will put pressure on Chivas to put numbers wide instead of in the middle, leaving space open for guys like Ferreira and Michel to do their dirty work.
Switch the play. This goes hand-in-hand with the speed on the wings. Dallas is far more successful when they are able to consistently switch the point of the attack with Michel and Andrew Jacobson. Times when the ball is moving fluidly from side to side is when Dallas is at their best. Look at the first 35 minutes in the US Open Cup match against Portland last week, Dallas dominated that game thanks to how they were switching up their offense from the right to left side and back again. Chivas is a much weaker club than Portland so it should work big time if done enough.
Set pieces. Chivas has given up five goals on set pieces this year, which isn't a ton but it shows that they can be exposed on these situations. Dallas has the height advantage in a big way for tonight's game. Making the most of the set pieces will be key for Dallas. You know they will foul Ferreira a lot, the Goats are third in the league in fouls committed after all.
We've said it many times on this space that this is a game that Dallas should win no matter what. Even if it is a tad ugly, which going against Chivas USA means it could end up being that way, is almost fine by me. Dallas needs to feed off the sellout crowd and get back on the winning track. Salt Lake stumbled last night against Philadelphia and only got a point out of their match with them, which means Dallas could close the gap between them by one point by the end of the night.
Dallas 3, Chivas 1