Tomorrow night's game with Seattle comes with so many questions for both sides. Can the Seattle Sounders end their playoff woes? Can FC Dallas score on the road and make it a series? But more importantly, does Oscar Pareja make yet another lineup change?
Pareja has does a lot of this lately, by bringing in new starters from game-to-game. Part of this is due to injuries and suspension. Other times it has to do with how players are doing in training. But it also has a lot do to with matchups.
To pull some numbers for you, Victor Ulloa has played in 32 consecutive matches for FC Dallas (across all competitions). Since serving a suspension following a red card against D.C. United on April 26, defender Zach Loyd has appeared in 31 straight matches (across all competitions). Since making his first professional start in a 2‐1 loss to San Jose on May 10, Rookie of the Year candidate Tesho Akindele has appeared in 30 matches in a row (across all competitions). Matt Hedges has played in all but two games this season. And despite missing games for international duty and one suspension, Je-Vaughn Watson has played in 31 matches (regular season and playoffs) this year.
Those are the mainstays on the field for FC Dallas. Those five guys you can count on being on the field on Monday, I think that is a given. The bulk of the lineup changes this year as we know have been due to injuries and suspensions.
So this all again begs the question that needs to be asked, does Pareja go back to Mauro Diaz in the lineup like he did against Vancouver for the second leg against Seattle on Monday night? Or does he go back with a lineup that seemingly worked well to keep the Sounders off the scoreboard aside from one back defensive play on a free kick?
It is the gamble you play. Diaz, as we all expect, is really only going to give you 60 good minutes, maybe a little less because of the turf at CenturyLink field. Based on how the club played in the first leg, Pareja didn't go to his bench until the 85th minute. Had Diaz not been suspended, you gotta think he would have gone to the bench much sooner than that.
So which lineup do you want to see on Monday night? One with Diaz or something like we saw in the first leg?