Dallas Soccer: BLAS PEREZ
A trade for Julian de Guzman could help FC Dallas increase its scoring opportunities.
|Former U.S. national teamer Kyle Martino talks MLS and the Daily Mirror's Dave Maddock covers all things Liverpool on this week's Soccer Today podcast. |
After Drew Moor's botched play led to the only goal in a 1-0 home loss to Vancouver on July 4, the Rapids (7-10-1) gave up two scores off corner kicks in last Saturday's 2-1 loss at Seattle.
"You've got to be big, you've got to be strong, but unfortunately that's what's killed us now," Moor told the league's official website.
Perhaps the 6-foot-2 Wahl can help with that after being acquired from Montreal on Friday for a 2014 international roster spot.
"Tyson is a natural left-footed defender with good skill and size," Rapids technical director Paul Bravo told the club's official website. "We're excited to be able to add such an experienced player without compromising our roster flexibility as we move into the second half of the season."
The Rapids, who last dropped two straight at home July 27 and Aug. 9, 2008, open a stretch of three matches in eight days with their second game against Dallas this season.
Jaime Castrillon and Martin Rivero scored in the second half to help Colorado snap a four-game road losing streak and defeat Dallas 2-0 on May 6. That was also FC Dallas' first home loss of 2012 after opening 3-0-2.
Dallas (3-9-7) makes its lone trip to Commerce City this season -- it lost 1-0 there Oct. 1 for its first 0-4 skid in MLS play since 2004 -- without a win since April 14 against the Impact.
However, coach Schellas Hyndman's club is coming off three consecutive draws, the latest scoreless with Western Conference-leading San Jose last Saturday.
Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman has surrendered just one goal during that stretch.
"Maybe our luck is changing a little bit defensively, so now if we could get a few goals, it would allow us to enjoy the fruits of our labor," Hartman said.
The team hopes de Guzman can deliver some offensive punch after he was acquired from Toronto on Friday for midfielder Andrew Wiedeman.
"He also has a bit of toughness to him that will help us win 50-50 balls and control the central midfield," Hyndman told Dallas' official website of de Guzman.
Midfielder David Ferreira, the 2010 MLS MVP, is coming off his first start in 14 months due to a leg fracture, and midfielder Ricardo Villar returned last Saturday after missing 13 games due to a right foot injury. But Dallas leading scorer Blas Perez (five goals) could miss a fifth consecutive league match with a right foot sprain.
It's uncertain if Rapids first-year coach Oscar Pareja -- a former FC Dallas player, assistant coach and director of player development -- will start Omar Cummings, who is working his way back from a sprained ankle that sidelined him for more than a month.
Cummings scored his fourth of the season last Saturday as a second-half substitute.
FC Dallas, 0-3-2 in its last five games at Colorado, is trying to avoid its first five-game road losing streak since Aug. 21-Oct. 9, 2004.
While attempting to end its 10-game drought, Dallas will seek to continue its mastery of a potentially fatigued Chivas squad Saturday night.
|Sweden defender Martin Olsson and Times of London's Gabriele Marcotti break down Euro 2012. |
Benitez is suspended for his team's attempt to snap an 0-7-3 skid and the start of a season-high three-game homestand.
"I think we're getting to the point in the season where we really need to get results," defender Zach Loyd told the league's official website. "We keep dropping in the standings with less and less games to make up points so I think with the three-game home stretch here, we're shooting for nine points."
FC Dallas will now be facing a team it's beaten four straight times, and Chivas USA (5-7-3) will also be playing its third match in eight days.
Chivas has already earned one victory during its hectic stretch, 2-1 over Montreal on Wednesday, as Juan Pablo Angel broke the tie in the 82nd minute with his third goal in five games. The club's second win in nine league matches snapped a three-game winless drought.
"Certainly we gained some confidence out of doing some things well in this game and ultimately getting a result," coach Robin Fraser said. "We have to regroup and get ourselves ready for what's going to be a difficult game. Regardless of Dallas' record, they're a team full of good players. For anyone to take them lightly would be ridiculous."
Chivas probably won't do that because it hasn't scored in each of its last two games in Dallas, dropping both by 1-0 margins. FC Dallas has won 2-1 in each of the other two recent matchups, both on the road.
Brek Shea opened the scoring during a win in Southern California last June but is questionable for this game because of a bruised foot. Leading scorer Blas Perez, George John and Ricardo Villar are listed as questionable while four other players remain out, most notably David Ferreira.
Chivas forward Jose Correa and midfielder Miller Bolanos remain questionable while four other players are expected to sit out.
M/F Fabian Castillo (sprained left ankle)
Castillo has been recently sidelined with some ankle issues but the good news is he’s returned to the practice field.
Hyndman’s Take: He’s fine. He’s training again.
CB Ugo Ihemelu (concussion symptoms)
Hyndman had said last week before the U.S. Open Cup loss to Charlotte that the team was giving their current captain some pills to help with his headaches. Here’s an update:
Hyndman’s Take: I think they made some progress but still, he didn’t train today.
CB George John (left USOC game early as precaution)
John had left the USOC loss to Charlotte during the first half as a precaution as it was thought he might have a concussion. However, it appears he has no symptoms, another bit of good news for Dallas.
Hyndman’s Take: George, seems to be all right but again, precautionary. So we’ll make some decisions on that as well.
CB Zach Loyd (see George John)
Like John, Loyd also left the Open Cup loss in the first half as a precaution with a potential concussion. But the major difference between his and Big George’s situation is that Loyd required stitches while John did not.
Hyndman’s Take: Zach got quite a few stitches, I think 20 stitches across the eye, so it was a pretty bad cut. The swelling has gone down obviously quite a bit. Stitches come out tomorrow. We were also a little concerned there might have been some phase of concussion, so what we did today was just let him work a little bit in tennis shoes and on fitness depending on if there was any throbbing pain or anything but he seemed to have gotten through it OK. From what he’s telling me, he doesn’t really have any of those symptoms, so I think he’s going to be all right.
M Brek Shea (turf toe)
Besides serving a three-game suspension after kicking a ball at a referee, Shea has also recently been bothered by a rather nasty case of turf toe. Hyndman offers an update, which might cast his availability for the next game on June 16 at Houston into some doubt.
Hyndman’s Take: Brek’s not training yet. We’re hoping for about another week. He’s out there jogging a little bit, so he’s out of his boot. That’s a good sign.
“FC Dallas is very proud to have three representatives on the U.S. Under-20 National Team,” said FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo. “All three players are hard-working, talented young men with bright futures ahead of them.”
A native of Fort Worth, Top became the fifth Homegrown player to sign with FC Dallas on Jan. 12, 2011. Top made eight appearances for the FC Dallas Reserves in 2011, logging a total of 374 minutes. The 19-year-old forward recently broke into the starting lineup for FC Dallas. He picked up his first career assist on a goal scored by Blas Perez against Real Salt Lake on May 26, 2012. Top made his first start and played the full 90 minutes in a U.S. Open Cup match on May 29.
Garcia netted two goals in just 80 minutes of action last season with the FC Dallas Reserves. He has one assist for the 3-1-1 FC Dallas Reserves this season in just 47 minutes of action. Garcia also leads the FC Dallas Academy U-18 team with 18 goals in 23 games. The team currently leads the U.S. Soccer Development Academy with a record of 22-4-3 (69 points). Garcia verbally committed to the University of North Carolina in November.
A teammate with both Top and Garcia on the FC Dallas Academy U-18 team in 2011, Okwuonu played in 21 matches for the 10-1-5 conference champions last season. He then spent the second half of 2011 playing his freshman season at UNC, which claimed its second national championship in December. Originally from Edmond, Okla., Okwuonu started and played every match for the Tar Heels last fall, earning more minutes than any other field player on the team.
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Terakazu Tanaka) 59
DAL – Matt Hedges 75
RSL – Saborio (Ned Grabavoy, Jonny Steele) 76
DAL – Blas Perez (Jonathan Top, Jackson) 85
RSL – Nat Borchers 90+
FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Jair Benitez, George John, Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd, Bryan Leyva (Carlos Rodriguez 79), Daniel Hernandez, James Marcelin (Jonathan Top 82), Andrew Jacobson, Jackson, Blas Perez.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Victor Ulloa, Moises Hernandez, Scott Sealy, Bruno Guarda.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Blas Perez 4);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Jackson 2);
FOULS: 9 (Jackson 4);
OFFSIDES: 2 (Jackson, Blas Perez 1);
CORNER KICKS: 2 (Bryan Leyva 2);
SAVES: 4 (Kevin Hartman 4).
Real Salt Lake – Kyle Renish, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Terakazu Tanaka, Jamison Olave, Ned Grabavoy, Yordany Alvarez, Luis Gil (Jonny Steele 70), Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola (Sebastian Velasquez 90+).
Substitutes Not Used: Eduardo Fernandez, Emiliano Bonfigli, Paulo Junior, Chris Estridge, Enzo Martinez.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Alvaro Saborio 4);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Alvaro Saborio 3);
FOULS: 14 (Yordany Alvarez 3);
CORNER KICKS: 4 (Ned Grabavoy 3);
SAVES: 3 (Kyle Reynish 3).
RSL – Yordany Alvarez (caution) 37
RSL – Fabian Espindola (caution) 90+
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Scott Kachmarik
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Cloudy, 65 degrees
His club is still in better shape than FC Dallas.
RSL will try to extend its home winning streak to five Saturday night when Dallas looks to end its eight-match winless stretch.
Playing for the first time since a 1-0 victory at Seattle on May 12, Real Salt Lake (8-3-2) will be without goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Alvaro Saborio, Will Johnson and Kyle Beckerman on Saturday as they're all on international duty. The club also could be missing defender Chris Wingert (hamstring) and midfielder Javier Morales (quadriceps).
Kyle Reynish is expected to make his second start of the season in goal for RSL, while midfielders Yordany Alvarez and Luis Gil and defender Chris Schuler could see plenty of minutes against Dallas.
"We want to try to rotate the team in a way that we keep a strong spine or core group of players," Kreis told RSL's official website. "We will certainly hope for the same throughout the rest of the season."
Real Salt Lake, one point back of MLS-leading San Jose, is hoping to maintain its edge at Rio Tinto Stadium, where it is 5-1-0. The club's last five-game home winning streak was May 1-June 9, 2010.
RSL is 4-0-1 at home against Dallas since Rio Tinto Stadium opened. Real Salt Lake holds a 12-4 scoring edge in those contests.
That does not bode well for an FC Dallas club that's 0-5-1 on the road in 2012. Dallas (3-7-4) joins Portland and Toronto as the only teams without a victory away from home.
Dallas doesn't have a win on any field since a 2-1 victory over expansion Montreal on April 14. A 2-1 loss in Chicago on Wednesday stretched the team's winless streak to eight, two shy of the franchise record.
"We need to get points any way we can, a win, a tie, whatever," rookie defender Matt Hedges told the Fire's official website after scoring his first MLS goal Wednesday.
If the club is going to pick up any points Saturday, it will have to do so without midfielder Brek Shea, who will complete his three-game suspension after kicking the ball at an assistant referee in a 2-1 loss to Columbus on May 12.
Shea scored on a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time in a 1-all draw against visiting RSL on April 25.
Dallas played that match without suspended striker Blas Perez, while Real Salt Lake did not have forward Fabian Espindola and defender Jamison Olave available after both were red-carded in a 3-1 loss at San Jose on April 21.
Real Salt Lake is on a season-best 3-0-2 run since ending a two-game losing streak in last month's match with Dallas.
RSL's last six-game point streak was a 3-0-4 stretch June 11-July 23.
These teams conclude the season series Aug. 18 in Utah.
Chicago may not even remember what the trophy looks like.
The Fire look to claim their first Brimstone Cup since it was created 11 years ago while seeking to end a five-game winless streak against struggling Dallas on Wednesday night.
Chicago captured the inaugural award in 2001 but hasn't reclaimed it since relinquishing it the following season. Dallas has gone 14-3-3 against the Fire since 2002 and 3-0-2 in the last five meetings.
This will be the only regular-season contest between these teams, meaning the winner will claim the Brimstone Cup. If the match ends in a draw, Dallas (3-6-4) will hold it for an 11th straight year.
Chicago has never beaten Dallas at Toyota Park, going 0-5-1 since it opened in 2006. Its last home victory in the series was June 12, 2005, at Soldier Field.
The Fire (4-3-3) seemingly have a good opportunity to end that skid, though.
Dallas is 0-4-3 in its last seven after a 1-all draw with Philadelphia on Saturday, last winning April 14 over Montreal. It hasn't gone this many games without a victory since a club-record 10-game stretch July 2-Sept. 10, 2005.
"I thought we played well enough to win. It's just same old story," midfielder Daniel Hernandez told the league's official website. "We can't find a way to get three points."
Dallas is 1-7-1 in its last nine road games, winning 2-1 at Chicago on Oct. 12.
The Fire are coming off a 2-1 loss at Portland on Sunday, ending a three-game unbeaten streak. After Jalil Anibaba tied the game in the 39th minute, Chicago's Logan Pause deflected a header into his own net in the 52nd minute.
"I thought that we didn't deserve to walk away with a loss," coach Frank Klopas said. "Overall, I thought it was frustrating because I feel disappointed when we lose, but when you feel that you should have walked away with points from here it's hard to take the loss."
Inconsistency has plagued a Chicago team that hasn't won consecutive games all season with an attack that has gone dormant for stretches during matches.
"We've put very good halves together, we've played very well in 60-minute stretches," defender Dan Gargan told the team's official website. "I think we're looking for a really good 90-minute performance from start to finish. That's certainly something we need to get better at."
The same goes for Dallas, which got a goal from Blas Perez in the seventh minute Saturday but little else after that. It hasn't scored a goal in the second half other than on a penalty kick since Brek Shea's tally in the 88th minute in Dallas' most recent win.
"We created some really good chances in the first half," coach Schellas Hyndman said after Saturday's match. "And then, the game just got to the point where it unfortunately got more physical than it needed to be."
Dallas has outscored Chicago 10-3 in the last five matchups.
Overall thoughts on the game… I thought our players were really focused. They were very competitive tonight from the beginning to the end. We scored a nice goal, created some very good chances in the first half, and then the game just kind of got to the point where, unfortunately, it was more physical than it needed to be. I don't think our depth is strong enough right now with the injuries to handle it. I think one key point was when [Hernan] Pertuz got hurt. I think it changed our defense. We weren't as strong in the air and we weren't as strong marking-wise. All in all, the players showed up today to play and they gave us everything they had.
On Bryan Leyva's game tonight:
What a nice performance from Bryan Leyva, a player who was coming along for us, and then picked up an injury. Now, he's coming back and getting his rhthym. I thought he played very well. He was composed and was able to make some very good passes. He's a player that, if he can continue to get more playing time, he can compete for a starting position on this team.
On how the game changed in the second half:
If you look at the number of chances that Philadelphia had late, it was from turnovers in the back third. I thought we were doing well in the first half. If you look at the beginning of the second half, I think in the first 10 to 15 minutes we were doing the things that we wanted to do. The moment Pertuz got hurt, I really think it changed.
FC Dallas forward Blas Perez
Talk about what happened during your goal It was a corner kick, so I tried to get to the far post because I was thinking that was where the ball was going to end up. I was lucky enough to have the ball pop up for me. I was even luckier to not get injured on the play. It gave us a little gas during the early part of the first half.
Was this the most physical game you’ve played so far this season?
It wasn’t been the most physical game but there were some bad fouls. There is really nothing you can do about that but go back and try and play your game and let the referees do the best job they can do.
Did getting an early goal lift the team in the first half?
It was a big goal. It gave us a confidence boost for the rest of the first half. The second we didn’t pressure Philadelphia like we needed to and we gave away a goal on a mistake. We may have had a few more chances than them but [Chase] Harrison played well. He made some big saves for Philadelphia.
FC Dallas midfielder Daniel Hernandez
On how he felt playing a 4-5-1 with Andrew Jacobson, James Marcelin and himself in the middle I thought Andrew [Jacobson], James [Marcelin] and I were very comfortable with one another in the middle. We did a good job. I felt good. We had a good rhythm going. Philadelphia likes to crowd the midfield and I felt we did a good job of containing them.
On his first time playing next to James Marcelin
It was good. There was good communication. We were in the right places. It’s a style of play we’re comfortable with, one we have been playing for years. I think we play our best soccer in that formation.
How does it feel, getting three points at home?
It doesn’t feel good, just getting a point at home. You want three points. You want to win every time at home. I thought we played well enough to win. It’s just same old story. We can’t find a way to get three points.
FC Dallas Homegrown midfielder Bryan Leyva
On his performance tonight… I haven’t talked to Schellas other than when he walked by and said that I had played well. I felt great. It was my first game back since I injured my ankle. It did not give me any trouble during the game. I hope I can continue to play and contribute to this team.
How frustrating is it to lose a lead like that?
It’s really frustrating. I know how hard each and every one of my teammates works during training. We worked hard the whole week to be able to come out here and attack the game. We did, and we were up a goal and to let the lead slip away is very frustrating. Despite the tie, the guys still have a good attitude. It gives me confidence to be amongst a positive group of guys like that.
Philadelphia Union head coach Peter Nowak
Talk about the first half vs. the second half
We talked about how we are going to start the game and we wanted to continue to play how we did against New York, but they got the goal in the seventh minute which basically cuts you off immediately.
Talk about the adjustments you made coming into this match
We had Michael Lahoud with us for the first time, so he tried to find his feet and understand the system. We made some pretty good adjustments at halftime and basically executed very well in the second half. We created chances. We scored a goal and a couple of inches of luck here and there and we could have won the game. The 45 minutes was a good continuation of what we’ve been talking about in the past weeks and months of how we want to play and is a good sign of the future. We’re not going to slow down we’re going to play like that in the future and remainder of the season.
On Chase Harrison’s performance
He was very courageous on a couple of corner kicks and crosses and the free kicks from the sides. As you can see right now, he took some hits. Some hits on the head and some on the ankle. So listen, you always keep everyone fresh and everyone on their toes because you never know what is going to happen.
Talk about the result
This is a very positive result for us after a disappointing loss against New York. Because we all felt bad thinking we had played our best game of the season, so it’s a good sign of the continuation. That the guys are starting to believe in the way we play. As I’ve said, there’s still work to do, but we are moving forward as a group and we are going to keep fighting.
What have to tried to change in the first couple games this season?
What we tried to change was just the defensive game. Which we didn’t have in the first part of seven or eight games and we’ve tried to make it better. Now we are more dangerous. People are looking at us like ‘what are we going to do?’ We made the changes and we get shots, so the backline is stepping up and creating room and creating the chances. It’s time. It’s the new guys settling in. They know each other. They play with each other, so now the understanding as a group is pretty good and we’re going to keep fighting.
Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Chase Harrison
On his first start
It’s great. It’s been a long road getting here. I’ve been on several different teams and to have the coaching staff here believe in me, that I can get the job done; it means a lot that the coaching staff has my back and I’m glad we were able to come out and get the result.
On returning to Philadelphia
It was still up in the air. There were still a lot of things that happened in the offseason that happened behind the scenes that made me feel like they might be bringing me back, but it was hard to say until it got closer to preseason and when they gave me the call and said: ‘Hey we’d like to bring you in. We think this is going to be a good opportunity for you to come in.’ I came into preseason. Did well and they ended up signing me for the season.
On Dallas’ goal
When that early goal gets in you have to say, ‘alright that’s done. There’s nothing else I can do about it, so let’s just play hard for the rest of the 82 minutes left in the game. Let’s recoup and move onto the next play of the game.’
On his ankle injury
This happened probably 60 minutes into the game. I came out onto a cross and rolled it. And then I did a kick save to my near post and it tweaked it again. And the contact there at the end, it wasn’t bad contact, but when I stepped I rolled it again. It was extremely painful. It looked like I was wasting time, but I knew the referee was going to add more time anyways. I just rolled it again at the end there.
Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan
On the second half
In the first half, we just couldn’t get a rhythm. We were not possessing the ball too well. But in the second half we came out and spread it out a little more. We adjusted well and we got a good amount of chances. I think we put more pressure and we came out a little stronger [in the second half]. We were able to get out on the flanks and create a couple chances here and there, so I think we did a lot better in the second half.
On the player changes coming into the game
We’re familiar with everyone that we’ve played with, so I think we all know our tendencies pretty well by now. I think we were prepared for this game just like any other game.
On playing with Chase
I think he as confident coming into the game. He does well in training, so I don’t think anyone was more nervous with him back there.
On locker room reaction to recent trades
We just stay positive. We just have to look forward to the next game. We can’t really dwell on the past, so I think we just look to the next game, train hard and come out strong.
Second Touch: The above predicted the ugly soccer match that resulted.
The Finish: Dallas is a club desperate for something good to come their way, in the meantime grinding out a point here and there is all Hyndman is going to get from this mishmash of parts.
Hartman: 8 - Kept the side in the match when Philly decided that applying some pressure to Dallas was their best defensive move
Pertuz: 5 - Was playing a tidy match, and then like the sun rising became this week's injury victim
John: 7 - While the defense struggles overall, John is showing off new level of form
Hedges: 6 - This kid appears to be as solid as a rookie gets
Benitez: 4 - I swear he's getting paid based on attempted passes over 20 yards - successful or otherwise
Jackson: 4 - A very "meh" night for the Brazilian who still looks to be finding his chemistry with a team that never fields the same 11
Hernandez: 4 - The grizzled vet is having to work harder than ever
Marcelin: 4 - Oddly quiet and absent for much of the match
Jacobson: 5 - Great effort to support Blas, just could never complete that one creative move
Leyva: 5 - Still loses the ball too easily, looks a bit scared in 50/50 situations - but we are promised there's magic in those shoes. His set pieces are superior to Hernandez.
Perez: 6 - Simply having to come far too back to get involved. His struggles are more about the team than him
Rodriguez: 3 - A tough score for being put in a tough spot, but he really struggled. The fact Hyndman had to play someone so clearly not match fit is very telling of just how bad the roster situation is.
FRISCO, Texas -- Gabriel Gomez scored in the 56th minute to help the Philadelphia Union tie FC Dallas, 1-1, on Saturday night.
Blas Perez scored for Dallas in the seventh minute.
Philadelphia (2-6-2) stopped a three-game losing, and Dallas (3-6-4) extended its winless streak to seven games -- the club's longest streak since a 10-game run in 2005.
Gomez scored on a header into the left corner of the net from the top of the goalie's box. Gomez collided with goalkeeper Kevin Hartman on the play and left the game in the 58th minute as he limped to celebrate his fourth goal of the year.
The Union's Carlos Valdes fired a long ball from near midfield that bounced off Dallas' Carlos Rodriguez and to Gomez. The goal came on Philadelphia's first shot of the game. It was the first time all season that the Union did not have a shot in a half. For the game FC Dallas outshot the Union 11-9. Dallas' Perez had an open shot at the Union goal, but goalkeeper Chase Harrison blocked the shot for one of his two saves in the game.
Perez opened the scoring when he headed a shot into the right corner of the net. The scoring sequence was started after Bryan Leyva curled a corner kick from the right corner to George John. John directed the ball to Perez, who made a diving header from inside the goalie's box.
Dallas played the first of three games without midfielder Brek Shea, suspended after he kicked a ball at an assistant referee in a 2-1 loss to Columbus on May 12. The Union played without starting midfielder after Freddy Adu, suspended for picking up two yellow cards in the team's 3-2 loss to New York on Sunday.
Shea starts his suspension -- Saturday’s match will mark the first of the three games Brek Shea will miss after deliberately kicking a ball at an official during a loss at Columbus last Saturday. It was a dumb play from an obviously frustrated player, which might be partly due to the turf toe that has been nagging. But then again, it could be because there is a growing frustration in the room over a three-game losing streak and not winning in over a month. No matter the reason, Shea now gets a three-game timeout to think about what he did at a time his club really needs him the most.
Who’s in for Loyd? -- However, Shea won’t be the only starter sitting this one out for FCD. Right back Zach Loyd, who is the only Dallas player to start every game and play every minute so far this season, a streak that will end on Saturday, was ejected in the second half of the loss to the Crew. Sure, the call was iffy at best, but it is what it is. Now Dallas gaffer Schellas Hyndman will have to figure out who spells Loyd there. If Carlos Rodriguez is healthy, it could very well be him. Were captain Ugo Ihemelu not out with concussion symptoms, he would be a possibility there, but he continues to have symptoms, so who knows when he returns? Rodriguez appears to be the logical choice but it wouldn’t be a shocker to see Hernan Pertuz in at right back, that is unless Hyndman puts him at center back alongside George John, a spot that could also go to rookie Matt Hedges, the club’s top pick in the 2012 MLS Super Draft.
What can go wrong next? -- Not to be Mr. Glass Half Empty, but considering how many injuries, suspensions and red cards this team has had already this year, one has to wonder what could unfold for FCD against the Union? It’s a viable question considering the absolute rollercoaster this team has been on for the first 12 games. However, on the flipside, the Union are a team that is also struggling, which could make this an ideal time not just for FCD to return to the win column, but also to right the ship or at least take a step in the right direction. But if somehow or someway Dallas falls to Philly, it’s not a great way to start a rough stretch, that will also see them play at Chicago and Real Salt Lake.
Who will step up? -- If there has been one truly disconcerting thing about this current bad run of form for FCD, it’s that even with so much upheaval in the first 11, there really hasn’t been anyone to step up and refuse to accept anything less than a win for their club. Backup goalkeeper Chris Seitz fared well in his three-game relief stint while starter Kevin Hartman was out with back spasms, but other than that, who has really stepped up for this team? Blas Perez has been great but that was expected. Great teams or good teams for that matter are clubs where even if the best players are out, there are others who step up and answer the bell. There has been little of that going on in the first 12 games, which could signal a greater problem for FCD going forward.
Start of another tough stretch -- At long last, there is finally some rest on the horizon for FCD. However, the problem is that rest won’t come until after Dallas finishes a three games in a week stretch to finish out its May schedule. That tough slate begins Saturday night against Philadelphia. Then, FCD will play yet another midweek game at Chicago on Wednesday and won’t return home until after the gauntlet ends next Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake. This stretch will mark the third time this season that FCD has played three games in a short period of time and will be the final three of their six matches in the month of May. But for a club that hasn’t won since April 14 and who will be without Shea for the next three games after he was suspended, this stretch definitely has the look of the Bataan Death March more than anything. However, if FCD could get through this with a win, even two or maybe even a draw or two, it would give them some much-needed momentum heading into June.
That mirrors what's happened to the Columbus Crew.
Meeting for the only time this season, Dallas and Columbus will each try to snap a five-game winless streak Saturday night at Crew Stadium.
"It's going to be two desperate teams looking to get a result," Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum told the club's official website. "They're a very dangerous team and very potent offensively."
That hasn't been the case lately, as Dallas (3-5-3) has scored just twice -- both on penalty kicks by Brek Shea -- since its last victory, 2-1 over expansion Montreal on April 14. That was the team's second consecutive win after defeating New England 1-0 on April 5.
Dallas is 0-2-3 since those victories, but the team has reason for optimism heading into Saturday. Daniel Hernandez and Blas Perez will return from red-card suspensions, and Shea likely will be back in a starting role after being a second-half substitution Wednesday due to turf toe.
"I think the biggest thing we can do is to come together as a team and continue to believe in one another," defender Zach Loyd told Dallas' official website following Wednesday's 2-0 loss to Seattle. "For the next game, we'll have Daniel back, we'll have Blas back, and we will have Brek back in the lineup, so I think we're going to see a huge improvement with the team. Hopefully going forward we can see better results."
FC Dallas' last single-season, six-game stretch without a win was an 0-3-7 slide July 2-Sept. 10, 2005.
The Crew (2-4-2) are trying to avoid their first winless skid of that length since going 0-1-5 from Aug. 27-Sept. 28.
Columbus is 0-3-2 since winning back-to-back matches to close March.
"I've been very happy with the last three games, to be honest with you," coach Robert Warzycha said after Sunday's scoreless draw at Portland. "We were unlucky last week (a 1-0 loss to Vancouver), but overall, we're playing pretty good, pretty solid and steady games. We're making progress."
The Crew, though, have been shut out in three of their last four matches and have scored six times all season. With midfielder Dilly Duka and forward Olman Vargas questionable due to injuries, Columbus could get a boost Saturday if midfielder Chris Birchall makes his debut. He was signed this week after making 18 starts during Los Angeles' run to the 2011 MLS Cup.
Both sides could be without their captains as Dallas' Ugo Ihemelu and Columbus' Chad Marshall are dealing with concussion symptoms. Rookie Matt Hedges will likely get a second straight start if Ihemelu can't go, while Eric Gehrig could get the call again if Marshall is a scratch.
Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, a native of Athens, Ohio, made five saves in a 2-0 home win July 2 to end the Crew's four-game point streak in this series. Hartman's teams have not won in 13 consecutive games in Columbus since the Galaxy's 4-2 win there May 17, 1998.
Warzycha was playing for the Crew at the time.
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.
How great is it going to be to get Blas Perez back for the Columbus game?
Hyndman: He’s the one that we brought in. He’s the one that’s going to help us get goals. I thought yesterday’s game in some ways was one of our better performances. If he’d been on the field, I think he would have found himself at least in front of the goal with the ball.
Jair Benitez has delivered strong performances in the last two games. Do you feel like his confidence is back up to where it was before his knee injury?
Hyndman: Yeah, he has. Confidence, I don’t know if it’s confidence. He had a little bit of an issue with his knee and LA game was a game where he was just coming back. I thought what he did in the Colorado game was he worked probably as hard as anybody on the field. I think now when you look at this game last night, I thought he was one of the bright spots.
Earlier in the week, you said you’d like to give one of the two games this week to Chris Seitz. Will he start Saturday against the Crew in goal or do you go with Kevin Hartman?
Hyndman: Yeah, Kevin’s played real well. I think what we’ll do is for all the tactical reasons, we’ll make that decision later.
The depth of their defense has helped in both situations.
Seattle looks to match a franchise record with its fifth consecutive victory when it visits struggling FC Dallas on Wednesday.
The Sounders (6-1-1) will be playing their fourth game in 12 days, then they'll return home for a Western Conference showdown with Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
Fredy Montero assisted on Mauro Rosales' goal in the 63rd minute this past Saturday to give Seattle a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia and its fourth straight win.
Seattle won a team-record five in a row Sept. 18-Oct. 15, 2010.
"Three games in a week is not an easy task, but we came out with nine points which is something that we are very happy about," coach Sigi Schmid told the team's official website. "I thought we had chances to get more than one goal and we were a bit unlucky. One day those floodgates will open up."
The Sounders haven't had to score much given how well their defense has played. They've outscored opponents 6-1 during their winning streak and they've posted five shutouts this season.
Schmid has used a rotation of seven defenders, allowing him to keep the defense somewhat fresh during a tough stretch of games. He's started six different four-player combinations, and the Sounders have allowed a league-low three goals.
"I really think we have seven starters," Schmid said regarding the depth of the defense. "It's a team effort when you get a shutout. It's not just the defenders, it's everyone together."
Bryan Meredith earned a shutout in his first MLS start Saturday in place of the injured Michael Gspurning, who will miss at least the next two games after aggravating a right hip injury in the first half of a 2-0 win over Los Angeles last Wednesday.
"I thought Meredith did a great job in goal and dealt with the things he needed to deal with," Schmid said. "Our defense did a good job of keeping things away from him."
He'll be in net again versus Dallas (3-4-3), which dropped to 0-2-2 in its last four with a 2-0 loss to Colorado on Sunday.
As if the recent struggles weren't enough, Dallas went down two men in the first half when Daniel Hernandez got his second yellow card in the 34th minute before Blas Perez was given a red card for what the referee deemed a reckless play in the 36th minute.
Each will serve a one-game suspension Wednesday for a Dallas team that's allowed 14 goals -- tied with Los Angeles for most in the West.
"We won't be putting our best team on the field because of the red cards and the injuries," coach Schellas Hyndman told the team's official website. "But I know I have a lot of guys in the locker room looking for an opportunity, and so they'll be given that opportunity."
Seattle is 1-0-2 all-time at Dallas, winning 1-0 in the most recent meeting Aug. 20 when Montero assisted on Rosales' goal in the 16th minute.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis reflect on Adnan Januzaj's meteoric rise from Dallas Cup participant in April to Manchester United's savior in October before moving on to discuss DC United's victory over Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup final.
Play Podcast Steve Davis welcomes Marc Stein back to the studio from his European travels just in time to discuss the miserable weekend in the Premiership for both Manchester clubs.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis discuss the big City v United game and Stein's trip to West Brom for the Paolo Di Canio show.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis cover all the ins and outs of the United States' comprehensive victory over Mexico that clinched a seventh straight trip to the World Cup.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis look ahead to Tuesday night's big USA vs. Mexico showdown.
Play Podcast Pedro Pinto analyzes the Champions League draw, and Rodney Marsh discusses Liverpool's flying start.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis discuss Clint Dempsey's home debut and the weekend's marquee match in MLS: Seattle vs. Portland.
Play Podcast Broadcasting live from FC Dallas Stadium, Marc Stein and Steve Davis reflect on the absolute footy feast that was Saturday's TV bonanza featuring seven live games from the Premiership followed by a full MLS slate.