FC Dallas will look to end its two-game losing streak and secure their first road win of 2012 on Saturday night against Columbus at Crew Stadium. Here are five quick hits on the game:
1. Shea starting or not -- Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman confirmed Thursday that Brek Shea will make the trip to Columbus. But the gaffer is unclear as to whether or not the Bryan native will start or come off the bench against the Black-and-Gold come Saturday. Gut feeling is that No. 20 starts, have nothing to base that on but just have a feeling he’s back in the first 11.
2. O Captain, My Captain -- Who will be wearing the armband come Saturday? Hyndman said the club will find out more about the scope of Ugo Ihemelu’s concussion symptoms on Friday and called the SMU product 50-50. If he can’t go for a second straight game, expect George John to again don the armband. Don’t look now but John is quietly putting together another solid season in the central defense for Dallas.
3. Thorn in their side -- If there’s one Crew player who has done his share of damage against Dallas, it’s defender Chad Marshall. Whether it’s attacking or defending set pieces or just the overall presence he brings to the Columbus back line, the two-time MLS Defender of the Year is definitely a difference maker in the back for the Crew. But like Ihemelu, he experienced concussion symptoms before his club’s last game and his status for this weekend remains uncertain.
4. Exorcising a demon -- To say FCD’s record at Crew Stadium is horrible (1-10-6) might be a huge understatement. Dallas’ lone win on Columbus’ home pitch came in 2007 under Steve Morrow. This is a Crew club currently in transition and FCD has to win on the road sooner or later, so why not this weekend? If they can exorcise that demon, it would give them a nice shot of confidence heading into a game with Philadelphia next weekend, a match that starts another run of several matches in a compressed time frame.
5. Perez Back in the mix -- After getting a questionable red card in the first half of Sunday’s loss to Colorado and sitting out Wednesday’s setback to Seattle on suspension, FCD figures to get a huge boost from the return of offensive cog Blas Perez to the field Saturday. Perez leads the team with three assists and is tied with Shea for the team lead in goals with three. Plain and simple, Dallas is a different team when he’s on the field, which is exactly why he was signed in the off-season. Perez’s presence alone makes leaving the Ohio capital with at least a point a distinct possibility this weekend.