FC Dallas has made plenty of changes this offseason but there are also a lot of familiar faces on this roster that will kickoff the 2018 season. Both sides are eager to get into the two-legged series that will finish up next Wednesday here in Frisco.
FC Dallas notes:
Injury update. There are still doubts about Kellyn Acosta’s groin injury that took him out of last week’s preseason friendly against Portland. Outside of that, rookie winger Francis Atuahene is still recovering from a broken ulna.
Previous meeting. The two met back in the 2011 Champions League group stage where Tauro got the best of FCD in the second meeting with a 5-3 win. The two sides drew their other meeting 1-1 in Frisco.
Working that new look. We saw plenty of the 3-5-2 in preseason play but will we get a deeper look at it in this game on Wednesday? More than likely the club will come out in the usual 4-2-3-1 and go from there. Oscar Pareja has brought in a lot of flexibility this offseason to shift to that look when he needs to here.
Cannon’s time to shine. We’ve also discussed this young man a lot in the preseason. Now he’ll get his first big test of his career on the international stage. How he handles things will be key in what FCD is able to do in this game.
Key player for FCD: Mauro Diaz. He looked great in preseason play as he scored a goal against New England and brought in a slew of assists. We now this group will go as he does. Let’s hope he is ready to actually lead.
Biggest Question: Did the preseason prepare them enough for this match?
Last year we know the club spent a couple weeks away in South America to help prep for the CCL and it nearly paid off as the team came within minutes of a trip to the finals. This year, the furthest the they went from Frisco was a trip to Arizona for a pair of matches. In a shorter preseason than normal, Pareja and company did pack in a few good games that gave this group a real look at how the CCL competition will be. I just worry that they didn’t go on the road enough to prep for this game.
Key player for TFC: Edwin Aguilar: The Panamanian forward leads the club with three goals this season and can be quite the hand full. Expect FCD to stick Matt Hedges on him for the majority of the match to help keep his chances in front of the net to a minimum.
How to watch
Match date/time: Wednesday, 2/21 7 pm
Venue: Estadio Rommel Fernández, Panama City, Panama
TV: Galavision (tape delay)
Radio: 1270 AM (Spanish)
Weather Forecast: Sunny, 74 degrees
Look out for our game thread, which will go up an hour before kick off.