Away from home, FC Dallas hasn't faired too well against Kansas City in all competitions, being outscored 10-2. That being said, FC Dallas comes in having won three straight while Kansas City has gone winless in their last five. Let's look at some storylines going into this one in this week's hat trick:
Not a Problem No Mauro
This has been touched on this in the past, but one the biggest leaps this taken this season has been the team's abilty to play and play well without Mauro Diaz. This flows first from the development of Kellyn Acosta and Victor Ulloa as defending midfielders that possess plenty of offensive distribution skills. After that though, other players have emerged as having on-ball talent and finishing ability outside of Diaz, Perez and Castillo.
David Texeira has made improvements this year, and while he still might not be payed equal to his ability, he creates a formidable pairing with Michael Barrios. As Diaz is getting healthier, it's promising to see how the team can mesh together without their "offensive glue."
Spread the Love
FC Dallas boasts five players with at least five goals, while Sporting Kansas City only has three. FC Dallas has not accomplished this feat since 2005 and while some of this goal-scoring spread is simply due to injuries and other players stepping up, it also shows that FC Dallas has committed to not spending all their resources on one player, instead of furnishing a balance of talent that's proved to be the league's leader in points per game.
The team is also seeing players step up outside of goal scoring. Atiba Harris both scored and spurned a goal two weeks ago in Columbus, while we saw Michael Barrios look for the open man, passing up chances on goal himself. Barrios has shown a goal-scoring stroke but is trying to get more of the offense involved. This might occasionally mean that the team takes the lower-percentage chance on goal, but it ultimately makes the offense more diverse and dangerous.
The Best Offense
The FC Dallas defense hasn't allowed multiple goals in a game since August 25th. That's a four game streak and the team is 13-1-5 when conceding one goal or less this season, whereas the team is just 1-7-0 when conceding two or more goals. While the offense has done fairly well in that time, there's no better offense than a defense only makes you grab one or two goals to get three points.
Matt Hedges and Zack Loyd not only are incredibly solid in the middle, but their consistency allows Oscar Pareja to change things around on the outsides depending on fitness. With two stalwarts in the middle, outside backs can feel comfortable and develop chemistry with those two, even if they aren't playing on the outside every week.
That's all I have this week, enjoy the Friday night match up!