clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What we’re watching for as FC Dallas takes on Austin FC

The depth may be tested again for FC Dallas but as long as Jesus Ferreira continues his strong play at Q2 Stadium, it may not matter.

MLS: FC Dallas at Austin FC Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas is back out on the road this weekend for the start of a two-game road trip to wrap up the month of June as they take on rivals Austin FC.

Here are some things I’m looking at and thinking about as the two Copa Tejas squads square off for the first time in 2022.

A look at the form for both

The form guide sometimes hides the truth in plain sight. For FC Dallas, that rough truth is that their form isn’t great at the moment with three losses in their last four games, including two at home.

Is it a trend or just a sign that people are figuring this team out? Honestly, I think it is showing the lack of depth more than anything. The first-choice lineup is very good and is capable of beating just about anyone in this league. They are also very capable of picking up quality road results too, just like we’ve seen in LA and Orlando already this season.

But once the depth is tested, things get a little dicy for this group. Especially in the defense and up top in the attack.

The last few games (international break aside) have proven that one missing player due to injuries in the back has hurt this group more than anything else. That has also tumbled its way up the pitch to the attack when say a guy like Alan Velasco for a game or two. The difference between some of the starters and their bench counterparts is a bit big right now.

If you look at Austin, their form is also a bit dicy and one that is probably the most difficult to figure out in this league.

I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I have to ignore that first month and a half of their season, especially those two wins to begin the season. Instead, their recent form is more intriguing to me. Their two most recent wins came on the road in very difficult environments. Yet, their losses lately are just as important to highlight. Like Dallas against Vancouver, it appears the Galaxy are this Austin’s team brick wall that they can’t figure out in 2022.

While their attack can be deadly with Sebastian Drussi (8g,4a) leading the way with similar goals and assist marks to FCD’ Jesus Ferreria (9a,4a), their defense has some issues with depth just like their northern rivals.

Hedges’ return

While most of the roster returned from the international break last week healthy, it was veteran center back Matt Hedges who was a late scratch before the loss to Vancouver due to a knee injury. His absence was felt almost immediately on the first Whitecaps’ goal as Jose Martinez and Nkosi Tafari were caught out of position on a quick counter attack strike that the Whitecaps had.

The Striker Texas reported this week that Hedges did return to full training this week and should be good to go on Saturday in Austin.

The defender said he knows what a serious knee injury feels like after a 2016 meniscus surgery left him without much cartilage. But after getting treatment, rest and a shot, Hedges says he “feels pretty good right now.”

“I’m pretty confident about this,” he told The Striker Texas after Wednesday’s session. “Obviously, I’ve had that surgery, so I kind of know what a bad part of that feels like and this feels, I mean, it feels good now. I trained for most of training today, and it was good.”

It isn’t that Martinez and Tafari aren’t capable of being a good pairing in the back. While the first goal given up wasn’t totally their fault, I would say that the pair had a decent game overall in the loss. For the entire second half, neither really had to do a ton of defending as the Whitecaps were sitting seven to nine guys back in their defensive third as Dallas pressed for a goal.

Still, you want your leaders on the pitch as much as possible. The chemistry between Hedges and Martinez is just massively different and better than what Tafari and Martinez have at this point. The two veterans just have a simple understanding of one another on the pitch.

Again, Tafari is capable here. There is no doubt about it but if you are given your first choice pairing for a game, you are going to want Hedges and Martinez.

Ferreira at Q2

It may be a tiny sample size but Ferreira appears to love playing at Austin’s Q2 Stadium.

In two games for both club and country, he has six goals. Count them, six. Two for FCD in last season’s wild 5-3 over Austin and then four more recently for the USMNT in Concacaf Nation’s League play over Grenada.

They’re all the kinds of goals you want your striker to score too.

If Dallas is going to have success and pick up three more points against their newest rivals, Ferreria will have to be the guy leading the way in the attack.