And so continues the strange, up-and-down, interesting start to the season for FC Dallas.
It’s been a campaign that has included impressive performances against the likes of last year’s conference champions LA and Seattle juxtaposed with complete flops against Colorado (TWICE) and Portland, the two teams at the bottom of the Western Conference.
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Even with all the weirdness and inconsistencies, FCD still finds itself in second place in the Western Conference, a position I’m sure they would gladly take if the season ended today.
Looking to equal FC Dallas on points Friday night will be Sporting Kansas City. Even though they sit in 6th place coming into the game, only three points separate them from the visiting FCD squad. And considering SKC is a perennially strong side, this won’t be a game that Dallas can take lightly.
When Dallas was on their incredible stretch to start the season, they made light work of SKC at home with a resounding 3-1 victory that honestly could have been a lot worse. “Old man” Blas Perez netted a brace and could’ve very easily had two or three more.
It was a perfect example of FCD at their brilliant best.
That form from early in the season has gone missing for FC Dallas. They’ve had periods in individual games where everything seemed to be working in unison. The game in Houston. The second half against Montreal last week.
Unfortunately, a consistent piece of FC Dallas’ play this season has been their inconsistencies from game to game. With the exception of the first run of undefeated games, there hasn’t been a stretch of consistent play in any facet of FCD’s play.
As for SKC, however, they come into Friday’s encounter in better form. They’re undefeated in five straight and are undefeated at home this season. Couple the two together, you get a tough matchup for FC Dallas on the road.
Keys to the game:
Can the defensive midfield control the match?
If FC Dallas wants to win this one, they’ll have to do a better job at controlling the game than they did in Montreal. With the pairing of Michel and Ulloa in defensive midfield, you ended up with Michel trying to move forward too much and leaving Ulloa vulnerable and isolated.
Ulloa has been a rock in the midfield for FCD this season, but he can’t do it by himself. I suspect Michel won’t get the start on this one. Personally, I would love to see Bekker given a chance. We have seen some promise from him, but we have also seen some woeful touches. I want to see what he does when given an opportunity to start.
Blas vs. Besler
It’ll be Panama vs. the United States in this matchup. Studly defender vs. wily veteran. Besler missed out on the first encounter between the two teams, and he’ll be looking to right the ship for the SKC backline. There’s no doubting that they are a different team with Besler in defense; just one reason this game will be much different than the one at Toyota Stadium earlier this season.
Blas won’t kill you with speed; he’ll try to outsmart you. He won’t outrun you to goal; he’ll find a way to run off your back shoulder when you least expect it. If he can outsmart Besler in this one, Dallas has a good shot at three points.
I don’t see this one shaking out quite so favorably for FC Dallas. I want to think that we will pull out a vital road victory and get this road trip turned around, but my gut tells me it’ll be a draw. 2-2 is my guess. It all depends on which FC Dallas squad shows up.