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What to watch for as FC Dallas travels to Sporting KC

FC Dallas looks for their first win in KC since 2011.

MLS: FC Dallas at Sporting KC Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a long time since FC Dallas last picked up a victory in Kansas City. Some of you may remember that Bobby Warshaw goal in 2011 that led to the three points on a late August meeting.

In truth, going to Sporting KC these days is tough for FC Dallas. Last year’s lone visit was met with horrible officiating and a terrible no-goal call (I still can’t believe the refs said this afterwards). In 2015, Dallas dropped 3-1 and 4-0 league decisions as well as a 6-2 Open Cup loss. Across the last four games at Children’s Mercy Park, FC Dallas was outscored 15-3.

So what will this year’s visit bring FC Dallas? Hopefully not more of the same. I don’t believe my head or heart can handle another poorly officiated game.

Progression in the 4-4-2

So far this season we have seen a lot of the 4-4-2 look out of FC Dallas. From the trip in Argentina in the preseason, the CCL games and last week’s season opener, Oscar Pareja has flipped the script a bit with his formation from previous years.

This has been good for a number of reasons in my mind. For one, we’re able to see the progression and evolution of Kellyn Acosta’s game. Outside of that we’re also seeing what Maximiliano Urruti can truly do with a striking partner in Cristian Colman and just how damn good Roland Lamah really is.

But we do have a ways to go and against a high-press team like Sporting KC, this 4-4-2 look will get a stern test in week two. I would imagine we’ll see Pareja instruct the squad to sit back a little more and withstand the pressure that SKC loves to throw forward and then counter on the wings with Lamah and Michael Barrios.

SKC doesn’t have the same speed on the wings in the back to deal with those two and I would think along with Colman up top, Dallas should have an advantage to get some decent chances in this one.

Pressuring Dwyer and Feilhaber

We know Sporting is going to get their looks with Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber. They just are. It is their bread and butter outside of the high-press that Peter Vermes runs. Limiting their chances and slowing down the pressure will be key for the Dallas defense in this one.

Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman did an excellent job last week at containing Giovani dos Santos. That kind of work will be put to test again this weekend against Dwyer while Carlos Gruezo will be tasked with limiting the passing lanes that Feilhaber gets in the midfield.

It should also be noted that if you limit the extra space that Feilhaber gets around the 18-yard box, you also stand a good chance at beating this SKC team. He has found the back of the net four times against Dallas and assisted on six goals.