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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Sporting KC

How will FC Dallas stop the high pressure of SKC?

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Sporting KC Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas is coming off a dominant 3-1 win against the Portland Timbers, while Sporting Kansas City was defeated at home by the Colorado Rapids 2-1.

Big Battle in the West

Fc Dallas and Kansas City have been trading that first place position in the West back and forth since week one. Both teams will be desperate not to lose this game and grant three points to their opponent. A win for either side will be massively advantageous. The stakes are high for this one and this will likely impact the play on the field.

End of the Hot Streak

SKC has had a fantastic start to the season. Four wins and two losses, but the last three weeks tell a different story. Kansas City lost to RSL and Colorado at home, and defeated the pitiful Red Bulls in New Jersey. RSL are a good team and Colorado was a bit of a fluke, but SKC is not playing as well as they were the first three weeks of the season.

Potential Lineup

SKC is missing several payers and have several players listed as questionable. Justin Mapp, Soni Mustivar, Kevin Ellis and Chance Myers are out. Matt Besler, Brad Davis and Paulo Nagamura are listed as questionable. SKC plays a 4-3-3.

GK: Tim Melia; RB: Saad Abdul-Salaam CB: Nuno Coelho, Ike Opara; LB: Amadou Dia; CM: Jordi Quintilla, Lawrence Olum, Roger Espinoza; RW Graham Zusi; LM: Connor Hallisey; F: Dom Dwyer.

Key Matchup

Maxi Urruti vs. Lawrence Olum. Urruti crushed Portland’s defense on Wednesday with his willingness to press high and retrieve the ball. This Pressure led directly to 2 goals. Olum, who will spend his time deeper in midfield, will have to avoid the pressure that overwhelmed Jack Jewsbury mid-week. Expect SKC to be quicker on the ball in midfield in anticipation of the pressure from the wings and Urruti.

Keys to Three Points

Avoid Dwyer’s Pressure. Similiarly to Urruti, Dwyer is very capable at pressing and retrieving the ball high up the pitch. Dallas midfield will need to be savvy and avoid giving away the ball in their own territory or Dwyer will use his speed to capitalize. Thankfully Nemeth is gone this year and is unable to torment Zach Loyd.

Keeping the Ball in Their Half. SKC has some great weapons at fullback, especially Saad Abdul-Salaam. He has been a major contributor in the Kansas City attack this year. Dallas needs to keep the ball in SKC’s half and prevent their fullbacks from getting involved higher up the field or else they have the ability to make life uneasy for the Dallas defense.

Killing a Game. Wednesday night was one of Dallas best performances of the year, but what was most impressive was Pareja’s ability to kill the game at the end. Dallas has had a bad habit in the past of letting leads go, so it was good to see the boys shut up shop. One thing that could be improved on is ball retention. The last 30 minutes against Portland there was almost no offensive production and that will need to improve if Dallas want to prevent late goals.

Prediction

Dallas has a strong showing at home to wipe away the 2 straight draws, but SKC manage to grab one and keep the game close.

My Prediction: 2-1 FC Dallas.