FC Dallas notes:
Barrios staying hot. According to the club's game notes, only seven players in MLS have scored more goals than Michael Barrios (7) since July 4 (Giovinco 14, Keane 14, David Villa 11, Kei Kamara 10, Bradley Wright‐Phillips 9, Cyle Larin 9 and Drogba 9). Pretty solid company to be in.
Goals against. FC Dallas has improved its goals against average this season. Last year, the squad allowed 1.32 goals per game. This season the back line has reduced that number to 1.18 per match.
First goal is key. FCD has a 14‐1‐2 record this season when scoring first. Dallas' only loss was a 2‐1 defeat to the LA Galaxy on Aug. 15.
Playing the kids. Dallas' Homegrown players logged a league high 4,607 minutes (14%) of the team's total minutes in 2014. Dallas is leading the charge in MLS again this season with 6,373 minutes (20%) played by Victor Ulloa, Moises Hernandez, Kellyn Acosta, Alejandro Zendejas, Coy Craft and Jesse Gonzalez. The Revolution rank second with 4,343 minutes played. Dallas' Homegrowns have logged 1,900+ more minutes than any other team in MLS.
First half defense. FC Dallas has only allowed 12 goals in the opening 45 minutes of matches this season, which ranks first in MLS (tied with Seattle). The team has shutout its opponent through the first 45 minutes of the match 21 times this season or 68% of the time.
Key player for FCD: Victor Ulloa. As much as the offense is worth calling out, Ulloa will have the tall task of dealing with guys like Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales in this one (should RSL not rest any of their main starters). Ulloa has been quietly good as of late and continues to help push the attack forward in the midfield, something that goes understated a good bit.
Biggest question: Will FCD overlook a banged up and potentially reserve-heavy RSL?
We know the schedule for RSL. They have a very small chance at making the playoffs at this point and while they aren't technically eliminated from contention, you may as well say they are. They also have a do-or-die game on Tuesday in the CCL, which means Jeff Cassar could easily (and should) rest his main guys for that one. Throw in the fact that defender Jamison Olave is suspended and Joao Plata is hurt, the options are limited for RSL. But FCD has struggled against some teams this season in games that they are expected to win. They've done a better job as of late with wins over teams like New York City, Columbus (when the Crew was missing half of their starters) and Houston. But lets hope those results against Colorado and Chicago don't find their way back into this one.
The momentum this club has right now is good. It is where you want it to be at this point in the year so there is no reason to think that they can't keep it up, even on the road. Just the way this team is carrying themselves at the moment gives me a reason to think that they'll pull this one out and put themselves into a position to contend for the Supporters' Shield on Decision Day next Sunday.
FCD 2, RSL 1
How to watch
Match date/time: Saturday, 10/17, 8:30PM
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT
TV: TXA 21
Online: MLS Live
Look out for our game thread, which will go up an hour before kick off.