FC Dallas enters Saturday’s home match with the New York Red Bulls on a well documented six-game winless streak. Their counterparts are unbeaten in their last three and are looking for every point they can get as they deal with a crowded Eastern Conference playoff race.
Going for broke
No team in MLS has fewer draws than NYRB with three. Dallas are tied for having the second most draws with nine. Dallas were able to grind out results that they didn’t deserve at the beginning of the season, and now it seems like that’s gone the other way lately. Not that Dallas haven’t been bad over this six game streak, but taking a season high number of shots against Colorado and not coming away with one goal has been a little unlucky. Earlier in the season, Dallas would have probably walked away with three points.
Red Bulls owe their lack of draws to an ability to create goals late in the game. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored to give NYRB the win in the 87’ minute against the Revolution in July, they knocked FC Cincinati out of the US Open Cup in extra time, and most recently split points with NYCFC after scoring a 70’ minute penalty. Dallas showed mental fragility against Houston by letting them back into the game late and they can’t let Red Bulls do the same.
Key match up
Bradley Wright-Phillips is a poacher cut from the same cloth as Cubo Torres, who grabbed a brace against FC Dallas two weeks ago. Dallas have to show improvement this time around. They cannot allow the pockets of space that he needs to be deadly. He’s averaging less than three shots per game, but already has fourteen goals. If Dallas have a lapse in concentration like they did against Houston or Columbus, BWP won’t need a second chance to make them pay.
Key to success for FCD
Fans called for Dallas to shake things up during the winless streak. Comments called for changes in tactics, formations, and as always, calls to “play the kids.” Tactically Dallas started working through their wings instead of hitting aimless and optimistic through balls. Formation wise Dallas fielded a 4-1-4-1 the last two weeks, but the call to “play the kids” has not yet been answered.
With five international duty departures it seems like fans will finally get the last part of their demands met. Pareja has no choice to at least sprinkle Homegrown players into the bench, if he isn’t forced to start them. The opportunity is there, but Dallas’ youth must step up. It’s become apparent that the team’s problems are deeper than just a late season lull. FCD tried to send the same lineup out to play again and again and hope that something would go differently next time, but now with a change in personnel, Dallas might finally have the spark they need. Whether it’s a healthy Paxton Pomykal, a new Luis Gonzalez or an energetic Carlos Cermeno, Dallas need a spark from a newcomer.