In what will be their last home match for more than six weeks, FC Dallas takes on a strong New York Red Bulls team at home this evening. Here, we breakdown both teams’ form coming into the matchup and highlight a few matchups that will determine how this game shakes out.
Both FCD and NYRB are coming off of significant come-from-behind victories. FCD beat the Galaxy 2-1 last week with an impressive individual display in the second half from the newly invigorated, up-from-the-ashes Mauro Diaz.
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New York heads to Frisco on the heals of a convincing win over their Hudson River rivals NYCFC. It’s hard to say that a 2-1 win over a city rival is convincing, but considering the fact that the Red Bulls were down to 10 men for the majority of the game and the result never really felt in doubt, I’m calling it convincing.
On the season, the Red Bulls have only lost one game. For a while, they were the last remaining undefeated team, holding out a bit longer than did FC Dallas. I’m still trying to make sense of those Colorado games…
So, when it comes to who has more momentum or who is in better form, I would have to call it a tie, which makes the game that much more interesting.
Keys to the game
Break up the play
For FC Dallas, I think the most telling stat of the game will be the passing percentage that they yield to New York. One of the Red Bulls’ best qualities is their ability to build up play in the attacking third. Even though Bradley Wright-Phillips can be deadly on the counter, their real strength lies in their ability to create space and build a play from scratch.
If Dallas wins this game tonight, it will be because the defensive midfield was disruptive enough in that area of the pitch to disconnect the New York attack.
The key defensive matchup will be whether the center back pairing for FCD will be able to hang with BWP. The Red Bulls striker has a knack for floating in behind a defense relatively unseen and popping up at the perfect moment. Whether it’s Hedges or Zimmerman or whoever is shading BWP, they’ll have to be on guard.
Against a striker with his quality, you can get killed if you’re caught ball watching. He’ll slide in between the center back pairing and wreak havoc on a defense. If Hedges marks him all night, I think FCD will be able to neutralize BWP. If not, it could be a long evening.
May 9, 2015; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas forward Fabian Castillo (11) during the game against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas defeated Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Space for Castillo
In every game that Castillo has shined, it’s been because the opposing team has either played a very high defensive line or given Fabian entirely too much space on the wing.
The thing that FC Dallas has going for them is the fact that, with the resurgence of Mauro Diaz, more defensive emphasis on the part of New York will need to be placed on the middle of the pitch. When Diaz is on, like he has been over the past two weeks, teams have to pinch in to provide cover.
If Diaz plays the same role he has played over the past two games and remains at his brilliant best, it will open up space for Castillo to run up and down the flanks and give the Red Bull defenders fits. If Diaz comes out flat, New York will be content to stay wide and force Castillo inside, which works to the advantage of the visitors.
I’m backing Mauro and Hedges to be on point tonight and put in a convincing performance. My guess is a 2-1 victory for the good guys. FC Dallas is leading MLS in goals scored this season, and I don’t see New York stopping them. All that said, the pillar of my opinion could come tumbling down if either one of these guys is off his game.