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What we’re watching for as FC Dallas hosts the Colorado Rapids

MLS: FC Dallas at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The weekend is finally here and that means another FC Dallas game to consume some of our time too. This time around we get a Western Conference battle as Colorado comes to town. The Rapids dominated the season series a year ago with FC Dallas, but both sides are a bit different now in 2022 than they were in 2021.

Here are some things I will be keeping a watch on and some general thoughts as we head into this weekend’s game.

Boost in the attack

Last week in Chicago was tough, like painfully rough to watch at times in the attack. I know the weather wasn’t great and that the Fire’s defense is possibly one of the best in MLS this season. But when you don’t register a shot on goal until the last couple of minutes in a game, something isn’t quite right. Also, when that only shot comes from a member of your defense, that isn’t great either.

I think we’ll see the flip back to Jesus Ferreira at the start of the game from Franco Jara, who is proving to be more of a late-game option for Nico Estevez than a starter. The bigger question will be whether or not Paul Arriola will be healthy enough to start instead of Jader Obrian. Estevez had mentioned before last week’s game that he was sitting Arriola out as a precautionary thing and the United State Men’s National teamer isn’t on the club’s injury list for this weekend.

We’ll need more of that fluid play that Arriola and Ferreira bring to the attack alongside Alan Velasco and Paxton Pomykal. If Marco Farfan and Nanu can continue to make runs forward from their defensive posts, and overrun the Rapids on the wings, we could be in for a nice evening.

Colorado is still a tough defensive group to break down but teams like LAFC were able to manage a couple of goals due to fluid play in the midfield and crosses from the wings.

Can Schon find minutes?

I appreciate Jon Arnold over at The Striker Texas for doing a mailbag, Q&A type post this week. Loads of good questions that needed answers but one that stood out to me was that over our favorite Hungarian Cowboy Szabolcs Schon. Multiple people asked Jon when he thought Schon could breakthrough into the lineup for FC Dallas. The response is worth a second look:

As a massive fan of international soccer, it pains me to say this: I think representing Hungary has seriously limited Schon’s FCD success. He arrived in late May off a full European season in his native country, then went to the Euros. He got back in great form but then left again for World Cup qualifiers. Down the stretch last season, he largely was a bench option. This year, it’s been the same, yet he hasn’t gotten off the bench. It’s never a good sign when two coaching staffs come to the same conclusion.

Even so, it has been surprising this year to see Estévez go to Kalil ElMedkhar for late minutes rather than to the Hungarian Cowboy.

I would be surprised if we don’t see Schon getting a debut soon. He was active in the training session I saw Tuesday after making the bench last weekend just days after returning from Europe. After that, it will be entirely on him to play in a way that convinces Estévez he needs more minutes.

I’ll throw in my two cents along with that comment as I think Jon is spot on with the assessment of Schon.

As Jon mentioned above, he came in midway through last year, immediately left and then had to adjust again a couple more times due to international callups. He’ll probably have the same adjustment again this season with Nations League games this summer that Hungary will be involved in.

The main thing for me is that Schon is still very young and is likely adjusting to life outside of his home country. He doesn’t have the same type of support system that a young South American player can easily get here in Texas either. The team and the league aren’t full of Hungarian players for him to learn from either.

As much as I want to preach patience still with Schon, he does have to find a way to get himself into the lineups. If he doesn’t do that, then this could go down as a bust of a signing.

Another solid crowd

The last time FC Dallas was at home they had their first sellout of the year in their 4-1 beating over the Portland Timbers. Honestly, can we do that again? Yes, the scoreline would be great to replicate again but I am talking to the full stadium (though I know that was tickets distributed, not all the seats were actually full).

MLS: Portland Timbers at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Just like that last home game, the weather should be great for tomorrow evening. It won’t be too hot as thankfully we’re in that pre-summer mode here in Texas where it is pleasant despite the insane amount of allergens in the air. So in some ways, there really is no excuse since the game won’t be going up against any major sports in town (I know this is technically the opening weekend in baseball, but come on, baseball?).

I wrote after the Portland game how I wanted to see a crowd like this more often as a ‘baseline’ for the rest of the season. There was good energy and excitement in the stands that night and you could tell the players fed off of that too.