After last weekend's wild win, FC Dallas heads to the mountains this weekend where hopefully they can both play a normal-length game and seek some vengeance. To get you all set for Friday's match, here are some things to watch for:
Go with what works
Last week, we saw FC Dallas jump out to an early 3-0 lead and much of that can be contributed to the lineup that Oscar Pareja put out. Before the two goals in Saturday's game, FC Dallas had just scored one goal in the first 20 minutes of a game. The speedy lineup, which featured Fabian Castillo and Michael Barrios on the wings gave an already sub-par Toronto FC back line fits right from the start.
Whether or not Diaz starts tomorrow, I think that having both quick guys on the wings really makes a difference, especially when they're followed up by the speed of Moises Hernandez and Je-Vaughn Watson as outside backs. Colorado did a great job of quickly asserting themselves in their horrific 4-0 win against FCD two weeks ago and if FC Dallas wants to do the same this weekend, last week's lineup might do the trick.
Fountain of youth
This might contradict my previous point, but so far, we haven't seen Pareja roll out any of his younger players yet this season, so that begs the question, when would it be the right time? Of the next four games, this game seems like the lowest risk game, even with how dominant the Rapids were against the two weeks ago. Personally, I'm very anxious to see Alex Zendejas and Otis Earle get some playing time, but I understand that with young players, it's a risk. Even Tesho Akindele, last year's Rookie of the Year, didn't see significant playing time until a May 10th game against San Jose.
I would love to see Zendejas come on in the 70th minute or so, but, it still seems that it is too early to debut those players. Tell me when you think they'll get their first playing time in the comments.
The Evolution of Fabi
I usually don't like touching too much on a previous week's game since this is a preview article, but I just want to express how big of a transformation we've seen Fabian Castillo undergo since the 2013 season. It seems that each year he's added one more dimension to his game. First, it was just reckless speed. Last year, he added accuracy and a bit of final third control. This year, he seems to really understand the flow of the offense and when and when not take defenders on. We've also seen him take much better angles towards the goal.
Two years ago, maybe even last year, I'm not sure that Fabian cuts this back, instead taking the poor angle towards goal and firing a shot into the side of the net. That all just goes to show the type of developmental qualities that Oscar Pareja possess and I can only hope that FC Dallas finds some way to keep Fabian here for a very long time (because it won't be long before the suitors come calling). I think that if Castillo can get touches very early on in this match, something he didn't do in their first meeting, shots can be put on frame and get the team in the right mindset from the outset.
That's all I've got this week, leave your comments and enjoy tomorrow night's game!