After two long weeks of no games, FC Dallas is preparing for a tough matchup against Liga MX side Pachuca. FC Dallas fans are eager to watch what is likely to be a dramatic second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal series against Pachuca after a home 2-1 win in the first leg.
To qualify up to this point, FC Dallas has played in seven CCL games. They won four of them, tied two, and lost one. FC Dallas are now one of four teams remaining after the competition started with 24. Many fans from across Major League Soccer will be supporting FC Dallas as they (along with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC) will look this year to become the first MLS club ever to find CCL glory. There is plenty to watch out for on Tuesday night, including these:
Attack-minded or defend and counter?
An away goal is going to be of vital importance. FC Dallas could bunker and hold off Pachuca all game and then give up a goal in stoppage time and lose the series because Pachuca would have more away goals, which is the first tiebreaker. Oscar Pareja has a tough tactics game to play. The instinct in a tough game like this could be to sit back, defend, and make a few chances off the counter attack. That is, after all, what FC Dallas oftentimes does in tough away games, and Dallas has the personnel to do it. The question is how effective that would be. With the away goals tiebreaker, theoretically the higher potential of scoring there is from both teams should benefit Dallas, which would suggest more of a high press attacking strategy, which Dallas is also good at. We may see Pareja line up his men to get a goal early and then bunker up and defend/counter, or we may also see FC Dallas defend early and look for a goal later. Whatever happens, the game of tactics will be fascinating to watch.
How will the time off affect FC Dallas?
While FC Dallas hasn't played a competitive game in over two weeks, Pachuca played a game this past Saturday in Liga MX against Puebla (which they tied 0-0) and used an almost full strength team. Pachuca's players will have had only three days of rest before they face FC Dallas. FC Dallas will try to take advantage of any tired legs, and it could potentially give the upper hand to Dallas later in the game, especially if it goes into extra time.
On the flip side however, since FC Dallas hasn't played in such a long time, the Dallas players could struggle to get themselves into the game. There is news of top level teams sending scouts to attend this game, which means the players have had plenty of time to sit and think about this game, heightening the pressure even more on them. Hopefully this has positive consequences such as intensity, and doesn't result in sloppy passes and plays. We will get to see how the players can perform under pressure in what should be an energetic and exciting game to watch.