The new season is finally upon us as FC Dallas looks to erase the bad taste in their mouths from Wednesday’s Champions League exit and last season.
They’ll host rivals Real Salt Lake in the season opener as they look to extend their home season opening winning streak to seven games. FC Dallas holds the record for the most consecutive victories in MLS regular season openers with six.
FC Dallas notes:
Injury update. Right now it is all about Kellyn Acosta’s sports hernia injury and the length of time he’ll be out. We got word this week that it would be at least six weeks before his return. Anton Nedyalkov also left the first leg early with an Achilles’ issue.
Last season against RSL. We all remember the 6-2 beating FCD put on them before the summer and a 3-0 blowout before that in Utah. Dallas has won six of the last nine games against Real Salt Lake. FCD has been especially dominant vs RSL at home, going 13-1-2 against them.
Roster rotation tomorrow? We saw Oscar Pareja shift to a 3-5-2 on Wednesday night, but over the course of the match he made several subs to make it more like a 3-4-3, or even in the late stages a 3-2-2-3 when Cristian Colman came on to the field. Tomorrow night may be a shift back to a 4-2-3-1 with Maynor Figueroa or Ryan Hollingshead sliding into that left back role while Anton Nedyalkov is still questionable. I would expect Santiago Mosquera to also get the start in this one too.
Subs have to make an impact. We saw Colman come off the bench and score on Wednesday night, and Mosquera also had a good impact on the game. But this one needs to see Pareja remain bold with his subs and predictable like what we saw in the first leg against Tauro.
Key player for FCD: Santiago Mosquera. He was a pain for Tauro in both legs and I can see him being just as big of an issue for RSL.
Biggest Question: Can the defense clean up their sloppy play?
I get that we’re seeing a lot of rotation and new looks but Matt Hedges is getting roasted from time-to-time and his chemistry with Reto Ziegler is just not there yet in the center of the defense. The pair will have to come together quickly to improve that aspect of the game. Also, we need to see more out of the central midfield pairing in front of them as well. Victor Ulloa did not have an impact against Tauro as his partnership with Carlos Gruezo just does not work these days. Maybe we’ll see Jacori Hayes instead.
Real Salt Lake Notes:
Key player for RSL: Albert Rusnak was the main man in the attack for RSL last season with 14 assists.
Injury Report: OUT: D - Tony Beltran (right knee surgery)
How to watch
Match date/time: Saturday, 3/3 7 pm
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
Online: MLS Live
Weather Forecast: Cloudy, 62 degrees
Look out for our game thread, which will go up an hour before kick off.