The season is back on as FC Dallas looks to get a leg up in the first match of a two-legged series against Panamanian side Arabe Unido in the quarterfinal round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
The two sides will square off again next week in Panama to see who moves on to the semifinal round.
FC Dallas notes:
Injury update. Mauro Diaz (Achilles), Victor Ulloa (sports hernia) and Ryan Hollingshead (back/neck) are all out for this one.
Playing on shuffle. Over the first 33 games of the MLS regular season last year, Oscar Pareja has utilized 30 different lineups. In 43 games across all competitions in 2016, FC Dallas used 37 unique lineups. Expect more rotation this season starting with what should be a 4-4-2 formation Thursday night.
Key player for FCD: Maxi Urruti. While all eyes in Dallas may be on newcomer Cristian Colman, I think a lot will still run through the motor in the attack that is Urruti. We saw a lot of two-man forward looks between Colman and Urruti in preseason, with Urruti doing a lot of grunt work to help set up Colman in the finishing end.
Biggest question: Can FCD find a way to grind out a result?
We know Arabe wants to come out and get a draw. They’ve pretty much proclaimed that from the mountains. As they look to slow the pace down and pack things in, FCD has to be wise in how they approach this game. I think a strong, early start from the club will be key to getting a positive result.
Arabe Unido Notes:
Key player for Arabe Unido: Enrico Small. The 27-year old forward is having one of the best years of his career with 18 goals in 2016. Stop Small and you should be fine.
How to watch
Match date/time: Thursday, 2/23, 7:00PM
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
TV: Univision Deportes Network
Weather Forecast: Clear, 73 degrees
Look out for our game thread, which will go up an hour before kick off.