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FC Dallas vs Chicago Fire: Preview and prediction

Can FC Dallas end their two year rut against the Fire?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The road to the playoffs continue this weekend for FC Dallas as they battle their Brimstone Cup rivals the Chicago Fire.

Chicago has won the last two meetings in this series after FCD won the Cup for 10 straight seasons.

The Fire enter the match five points out of the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference, following their 14th draw of the season (MLS league leading in that department) last weekend in a 2-2 result at Toronto FC. FC Dallas are for second place in the Western Conference after extending their current undefeated run to 10 games last time out, going a man down and defeating Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Toyota Stadium.

FC Dallas Notes:

Injury report:

Out: George John (knee), Hendry Thomas (ACL tear), Chris Seitz (quad strain), Walker Zimmerman (hamstring), Stephen Keel (foot)

Questionable: Mauro Diaz (hamstring), Adam Moffat (hamstring)

Road shutouts. While everyone is talking about the offense in FC Dallas' last road victory but the team's second consecutive road shutout was the first for FC Dallas since May of 2011. Dallas has recorded back‐to‐back road shutouts nine times in franchise history, but has never had three in a row.

Best August possibly ever. Currently at 4‐0‐0 for the month, FC Dallas is a point away from its best August in club history according to the club's game notes. Before 2014, the most wins recorded in August came during the 1999 season, when FC Dallas went 4‐1‐0. Most recently, the best month in club history occurred when FC Dallas went 4‐1‐0 in March of 2013. The most points recorded in a single month occurred in July of 1996, when FC Dallas went 5‐2‐0 (15 points).

Points per game. FC Dallas (12‐7‐6, 42 points) is ahead of its point‐per‐game total from the past two seasons. Heading into the 26th game last season, FC Dallas had 36 points. In 2012, FC Dallas only had 26 points. Dallas had 43 points following the 25th match in 2011 (the franchise's last playoff appearance) but stumbled into playoffs with a record of 3‐6‐0 over the last nine matches.

Quick Notes:

REFEREE: Marcos de Oliveira. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Greg Barkey; 4th: Alan Kelly
MLS Career: 2 games; FC/gm: 28.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 2

SUSPENDED: DAL: Michel (caution accumulation; through Aug. 31); Blas Perez (through Aug. 31)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Gonzalo Segares ... DAL: Blas Perez
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Mike Magee, Chris Ritter, Patrick Ianni, Lovel Palmer, Bakary
Soumare ... DAL: Fabian Castillo, Matt Hedges, Je-Vaughn Watson, Victor Ulloa, Adam Moffat
DISABLED LIST: DAL: Hendry Thomas (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (37 meetings): Fire 13 wins (1 shootout), 58 goals ... FC Dallas 20 wins (2 shootout), 70 goals ...Ties 4
AT CHICAGO (19 meetings): Fire 9 wins (1 shootout), 33 goals ... FC Dallas 8 wins (1 shootout), 30 goals ... Ties 2

Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. CHI: P2 W1 L1 D0 ... Frank Yallop vs. DAL: P26 W14 L8 D6

Prediction:

In a small way I feel as though this could be a bit of a trap game for FC Dallas. No Blas Perez, no Michel, still likely no Mauro Diaz. Chicago is a tricky team to look at considering all the draws that they have gobbled up this season. They're not very consistent from game-to-game but they are almost always in the game in some ways.

Still, I viewed this as a game FC Dallas could get points out of when the month started. This team knows that they need three points in games like this and to continue to look like a contender, they almost have to get a win over a team like Chicago here. I think there will be some bumps along the way but in the end the speed on the outside for FCD should be just enough with the way the defense has been playing as of late.

FC Dallas 2, Chicago 1

What do you think this weekend's result will be? Post your predictions below.