FC Dallas hosts the Montreal Impact this Saturday night in what is arguably the most compelling matchup of the MLS weekend. There are plenty of intriguing storylines surrounding this game, but here are the four you should be looking for.
How well FC Dallas Responds At Home
Coming home after last week's epic beatdown could be just what the doctor ordered for this young FC Dallas team. You can expect things to go back to normal Saturday night. The combination of being at home where they’ve been so successful and the sheer motivation as a competitor to right the wrong that happened in the Texas Derby should result in a more true-to-form FC Dallas squad.
If we look at last season when FC Dallas got shut out at home 4-0 to Colorado, they responded nicely beating a good Toronto team 3-2 and going on to win 12 out of their remaining 14 regular season home games. If that is any indicator to what will happen this season, FCD should be heading into a nice stretch with three of their next four at home. A good chance to get back on track and keep this train rolling.
Ignacio Piatti and Some Guy That Goes By The Name of Drogba.
While Drogba has been sitting out, Ignacio Piatti has cemented himself as one of MLS’ best. Leading the league in goals and tied for the lead in assists. Piatti has helped the Montreal Impact get off to a stellar start, and they now boast an impressive offensive arsenal that will surely test our re-tooled midfield as well as our back 4.
Oh and you may or may not of heard, but Didier Drogba is primed to make his season debut this Saturday. It will be interesting to see what impact he has, positive or negative, to the team’s current form (or if he starts or not). There has been controversy surrounding Drogba as he’s been training away from the team and refusing to play on turf. Could it cause a chemistry issue or will this be the cherry on top of an already good squad?
Either way, FC Dallas will have their hands full Saturday.
Change in the lineup?
After last week’s dreadful performance, does Oscar Pareja tweak the lineup? The same lineup that looked so good against Philadelphia showed no signs of that form against Houston. With the apparent communication issues within the defense and midfield, maybe OP makes a change. Could we see Zach Loyd start over Atiba Harris, who ran into some difficulties last weekend. So Oscar may put in a more proven defender to take on Montreal’s lethal offensive attack.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Ryan Hollingshead start over Maynor Figueroa or even see veteran Mauro Rosales start to bring more experience to the midfield. I still believe in Matt Hedges and walker Zimmerman holding down the middle of the back four, but Montreal’s firepower could force OP to make a couple changes in the midfield and/or the defense to account for Piatti and Drogba.
Jesse, are you OK?
It’s hard to gauge where the young keeper is at mentally to start off this season. He wasn’t really tested in the season opener against Philadelphia, and the game against Houston was a straight up disaster. This will be his biggest test by far to start off this season. Last year, he fought his way up to the starting position and never gave it up, and deservedly so. Dating back to the beginning of the postseason last year however, he’s allowed 13 goals in his last six starts. A disturbing statistic for a guy who came in as the clear #1 this season. We will see how well he responds after last week’s performance against one of the better attacks in the league.
All things considered, we will be in for an entertaining night in Frisco come Saturday. A very early gut-check for a team with lofty expectations against a great team returning their leading goal scorer.