FC Dallas head to Salt Lake City after a 2-2 draw with NYCFC. Meanwhile RSL remain home after their first loss all season in the Rio Tinto, thanks to Houston.
The Final Stretch
The season is coming down to the wire, for Dallas, Silverware hangs in the balance, for RSL, playoff qualification and positioning are more important. RSL’s recent form has dipped and the fatigue of the season seems to be catching up to them. Two losses, one at home, have moved RSL into the middle of the playoff pack. Dallas on the other hand remains consistent with wins draws and losses coming in a consistent manner.
Emery Welshman, Aaron Maund, Jordan Allen and Javier Morales are unavailable this weekend due to injury.
GK: Nick Rimando; LB: Tony Beltran; CB: Justen Glad, Jamison Olave; RB: Demar Phillips; CM: Kyle Beckerman, John Stertzer, Luke Mulholland; RW: Juan Manuel Martinez; LW: Joao Plata; FW: Yura Movsisyan.
Mauro Diaz vs. Kyle Beckerman. Diaz form has been good the last few games, and the introduction of Mauro Rosales to the team has meant that there is usually at least one creative player open. Beckerman has been one of this league’s best defensive midfielders for years, but Saturday he will have to shut down an in form Diaz and rely on his team to quiet Rosales, otherwise one of the Argentine playmakers will control the game.
Keys to Three Points
Better Defending Out Wide
Last week Dallas conceded two goals because Jack Harrison exploited the wings. On that baseball field every game turns out wild, but, Dallas fullbacks need to do a better job this week or Plata, among others, will create problems for Dallas in the same spots NYCFC did.
Using Houston to Our Advantage
BLEH. I hate to say it, but Houston has done us a massive favor by beating RSL last week. Not only is RSL way back in the Shield race now, but their first home loss of the season opens up an opportunity for Dallas to exploit RSL’s dip in form. For RSL, winning this game is crucial to regaining their morale.
Dallas is just ahead of the other Shield contenders, but for them to win it they need to get an away win, either this weekend or the end of the season against LA. Winning one of those games and the two home games would give Dallas a great shot at the Shield. RSL with a win Saturday night, thrust themselves back into Shield contention, going 5 points behind FC Dallas.
Dallas squeak out ahead of RSL at home.
My Prediction: FC Dallas 1-0.