We’re just over 24 hours from FC Dallas hosting the Colorado Rapids on Sunday night in Frisco, so here are five quick hits on the game.
1) Will we see the Kevin Hartman of old? -- Hartman has looked pretty solid this week in training. However, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said that while El Gato told him he felt good, he wanted to hear him say he felt great. To his credit, Chris Seitz has done well in Hartman’s place. This could be the game when Big Kev returns, but is he back to his old self?
2) How will James Marcellin figure into this thing? -- With Bobby Warshaw having foot surgery on Friday and going on the six-game injured reserve, Dallas added Haitian midfielder James Marcellin, most recently of the Portland Timbers, on Friday. But how much can we expect to see Marcellin? He will most likely come off the bench for FCD and his signing was done mainly to give the club some cover in the middle of the park.
3) Brek Shea: Go or no-go? -- Even while battling turf toe, Shea has scored in three of the last four games. But this week in training, it was clear the Bryan native was ailing a bit. Hyndman said he would be wearing orthopedic insoles to help his condition, but Shea sat out training on Friday as a precaution. With three games in seven days, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him sit this Sunday’s match so he is ready for Wednesday’s visit from Seattle Sounders FC. Or vice versa.
4) Who will control the central midfield? -- The Rapids might currently be without Dallas' longtime nemesis Pablo Mastroeni, but Oscar Pareja’s club still has plenty to contend with in the central midfield. Newcomer Martin Rivero currently leads the Rapids with three assists and we’ve all seen how deadly Jeff Larentowicz can be on set pieces. Colorado is also pretty stacked at forward with the likes of mainstay Omar Cummings plus talented newcomers Tony Cascio and Kamani Hill.
5) Will we see a bounce-back performance from Jair Benitez? -- Last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Los Angeles was definitely a low point for Jair Benitez in his nearly two years with FCD. Many have been calling for Hyndman to bench him, but considering Hernan Pertuz has been coming off the bench the last few games, that appears unlikely. So, with Benitez most likely back in the first 11 at left back, hopefully he shows well for himself against the Rapids, especially since atoning for that abysmal performance against the reigning champs should be foremost in his mind right now.