Things have finally settled down a bit for FC Dallas. They aren’t dealing with CONCACAF Champions League match congestion anymore (sadly). So the boys should be well rested to take on the San Jose Earthquakes.
While the Earthquakes currently sit at 5th in the Western Conference after grabbing seven points from five games, their form has taken a bit of a dive after a surprising start. Last week they stole a point from the Seattle Sounders with a 90th minute Chris Wondolowski goal. But they suffered two consecutive losses before that. They’ve been slightly inconsistent this season, but these are where the game will be won or lost.
Who scores first
The Quakes are 121-16-36 since 2001 when scoring the first goal. They are also unbeaten at home this year. It’s crucial that Dallas’ doesn’t allow them to snatch a goal early, because the Quakes aren’t going to let them sneak two back and leave Avaya Stadium with three points. San Jose scoring this year doesn’t seem as much an if situation as a when situation, as they’ve scored in every game this season thus far. Even if Dallas does score first, certainly don’t expect San Jose to sit back. They’ve shown resilience and character this season by going 1-1-1 when conceding first. Expect San Jose to fight hard for at least a draw.
Godoy vs Acosta
The result of tonight’s game will come down to the central midfield. If Kellyn Acosta can carry the ball deep into the opposing third as he has been doing this season, then he will force Anibal Godoy to chip in defending duties with Darwin Ceren. If Acosta doesn’t keep Godoy honest and allows him to venture up field, then expect Godoy to have a big night. San Jose’s midfield works a lot like Dallas’. Godoy plays the role of Acosta and Ceren does his best Carlos Gruezo impersonation. We’ll see which unit is the real deal tonight.
Hedges and Zimmerman marking Wondolowski
If Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman want to prove to Bruce Arena that they are ready for minutes with the national team, then they have to show Arena that they can shut down elite attackers like current national team mainstay, Chris Wondolowski. Wondo has made a living by finding pockets of space in between disorganized defenders and putting the ball in the back of the net, especially in late game situations (like he did last week against Seattle), tonight we’ll see if Zimmerman is mature enough to handle the USMNT superstar.