After a double dip of games last week we are back with another Quick Burns segment.
This week our crew is tackling the biggest issue on the docket for FC Dallas, their performance on the road as they are getting set to take on the New England Revolution this weekend and San Jose next week.
What do you hope to see from Dallas that's different or improved from their previous road trip? Here is what our crew has to say:
Drew Epperley - Lean on the DCU/Portland road games
We all know how bad the team has played on the road this season but there were shining moments in DC and Portland that proves this club can perform well away from Toyota Stadium. I think as long as the team can lean on those two games and not the Houston, NY or Vancouver outings, they can come away with something against New England on Saturday.
A lot of it will really come down to starting strong in the first 15 minutes. New England is giving up goals left and right and if FCD can catch them early, the points will be there for the taking in the end.
Edin Halilovic - Balanced performance
More of the same from what we saw last week. The team looked as good defensively as it has in months, thanks to Oscar Pareja settling on a defense that he's stuck to for the last three games, and that's created a platform for the team to become more structured, organized, and solid at the back. Offensively there are still issues and kinks to work out with a few players still not at their best, but as long as things are well set up at the back, then things should be fine and chances of winning points on the road will improve.
There are rumors that Matt Hedges and Max Urruti will return to action this weekend in New England. Regardless of whether they're true or not, the team has shown in the last two games against Portland and Seattle that it can defend and attack without them. The main thing is to figure out how to sustain that sort of level and earn results in the process, which has been hard to come by for FCD on the road this year.
Simply put, defensive resilience, balance, and good mental preparation will be key to any attempt to win points on the road in these upcoming games and should Pareja and the boys get these things down, we may see the Hoops fare better on this road trip than what they endured on the last one.
Jared Tilley - Play with confidence
Confidence. I want this team to show the ability to take a punch, like Jose Bautista, if you may. There have been too many times where they give up an early goal and start playing like the 'Big Green' (before their improbable defeat of the Knights). This is a team that finished first in the west last year and has only added quality to an already strong squad. I want them to come out and roll over teams. In my opinion, there haven't been enough blowouts this year, well positive ones. New England struggles to keep the ball out of their own net and San Jose has been on a couple of Fabian's and Tesho Akindele's highlight reels. This should be a fun two weeks with a couple of convincing wins.
Jason Poon - Grind out performance
Points. I want to see Dallas grind out some results this time around. New England is undefeated at home, but they only have two wins and four draws and have only scored seven goals at home. San Jose is also undefeated with five wins and one draw and have only conceded three goals at home. I'm not expecting Dallas to play these teams off the field, but show me that you can do the dirty work and grind out a positive result away from home.
Nathan Hill - Start strong, be patient
It's all about the start of the game. FC Dallas has a tendency to come in lacking intensity, like they want time to settle into the flow of the game and adjust to their opponent's game plan. It hasn't worked, so it's time to try something different. One thought is for Pareja to employ a formation with Fabian Castillo or Michael Barrios as more of a false nine, clogging the midfield and looking to counter from the get go. In this formation, you could seek to employ the three-headed dragon that is Kellyn Acosta, Victor Ulloa, and Carlos Gruezo to force teams into submission.
Alternately, be patient. All three recent road losses were missing a fully fit, fully in form Mauro Diaz. He's back now and that in itself may be enough to shift FC Dallas' chances on the road. The bigger question for Pareja is simply to make sure his squad are mentally ready to go at kickoff.