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FC Dallas vs LAFC: Preview, scouting and keys to the match

Can Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler handle Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi?

MLS: Seattle Sounders at Los Angeles FC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas will head over to Los Angeles to play LAFC in Banc of California Stadium. FC Dallas is coming off their first loss of the season last week: a 3-1 loss to NYCFC. LAFC have lost 2 games this year, but they are currently on a 3-game win streak.

FC Dallas and LAFC have each played 7 games this year, but LAFC is 2nd place in the Western Conference with 15 points and FCD is 4th with 12 points. LAFC has not tied a game yet this year. They have a record of 5-2-0 compared to Dallas’ 3-1-3.

Projected LAFC Lineup (4-2-3-1):

Tyler Miller (GK), Steven Beitashour (LB), Laurent Ciman (CB), Walker Zimmerman (CB), Jordan Harvey (RB), Omar Gaber (RM), Mark-Anthony Kaye (CM), Benny Feilhaber (CM), Carlos Vela (OM), Latif Blessing (LM), Diego Rossi (ST)

This will be LAFC’s second ever game in their new stadium, and the crowd will try to bolster their team with their energy. To feed the crowd, LAFC will try to win this game and will not be happy with a draw. This could benefit a counterattacking team like FC Dallas if LA throws a lot of their players up into the attack.

Marco Urena, a usual starter for LAFC up top, will be out. He will be having surgery for facial fractures that he suffered in last week’s game against the Seattle Sounders. On Wednesday, LAFC announced the signing of Adama Diomande right before the transfer window shut. Diomande is a forward from Hull City who will be replacing Urena, but it seems unlikely that Diomande will be playing in this game because of how recently they signed him.

Keys to the Match for Dallas:

Do not be intimidated

It will be important for FC Dallas to step up to the task and believe that they can get a result against LAFC. FC Dallas lost last week, but with the confidence they played in the game, FC Dallas played well and looked close to getting a result out of the game. It will be important for the lesson taken away from last week’s game for FC Dallas to be confidence, and not the end result of that match.

Do not play only defense

LAFC has a defense that is likely to have Walker Zimmerman in the lineup, and possibly could have Omar Gaber (although Gaber may play in the midfield). Those are two players that are recovering from injury so they may still be taking time on the field to get adjusted to playing again.

Tristan Blackmon and Joao Moutinho, two other defensive players that could play a role, are both rookies picked up by LAFC in this year’s MLS Superdraft.

On top of all of that, LAFC has only been training together for a few months, so there are bound to be some defensive mistakes made. FC Dallas should take advantage of this and pressure them to try to put a few balls in the back of LA’s net.

Start Mauro Diaz

The central midfield of LAFC is made up of Mark-Anthony Kaye and Benny Feilhaber. Kaye is a 23-year-old midfielder that was signed by LAFC from Louisville City in the USL. This year is Kaye’s first season in a first-division professional league, so it may be a tough task for him to defend Mauro Diaz for 90 minutes.

Benny Feilhaber is traditionally more of an attacking midfielder, so Diaz would provide a handful to him, also.

While there is value in FC Dallas’ 4-4-2 formation, this particular match may be a good opportunity to put Diaz in.

Key Matchup

Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler vs Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi

LAFC has two of the most affective attacking players in the league right now in Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi. Vela is tied for third in the league in scoring, with 5 goals, and he has 3 assists to his name this year, too. Rossi has 4 goals and 4 assists.

Neither of them got on the scoresheet last week, but Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler will have a tough task in defending against them.

Match prediction

In my match prediction, I boldly said that it would surprisingly be a 0-0 draw. There is a reason it would be surprising, but LAFC’s attack was not as successful last week as they would have hoped, and FCD statistically has one of the best defenses in the league this year so far, so I’ll stick by my guess. A tie would certainly be a favorable result for Dallas in this one.