DC United heads down to Texas to square off against FC Dallas for the second time this year. Earlier this season, they drew 0-0 at RFK Stadium, but both teams have progressed and seem to be in different shape since the May 7th match. Dallas has Brek Shea, a player who has turned into a scoring machine. With him, Dallas has quietly risen up the Western Conference table to third and are only five points out of first place. DC is beginning to get players like Marc Burch and Dejan Jakovic back from injury, as well as their big trade a few weeks ago. While they haven’t lost a match since acquiring Brandon McDonald and Dwayne De Rosario, DC’s recent history goes against them. It was 2007 when DC last won two road games in a row. Since then, being on the road has been the bane of their season.
Since the stadium is roughly 40 minutes from Dallas and surrounded by many toll roads, the attendance at Pizza Hut Park has always been somewhat of a downer. Averaging around 10,000 people per match, FC Dallas is always near the bottom of attendance charts despite fielding a fantastic team. To be honest, I really hope that changes. Right now, DC can use that to their advantage as they are almost certain they won’t have to face a crowd like Seattle or Portland, but I wouldn’t chalk this up as an easy road match since United lost to New England in front of a sparse crowd at Gillette Stadium earlier this year. There are no easy road matches in the MLS.
In the past, DC has run a flat 4-4-2, but lately they have changed it up. Now with a legit attacking midfielder, Ben Olsen has been able to change to a diamond midfielder which sees Andy Najar and Chris Pontius out on the wings, De Rosario as a CAM, and Clyde Simms in the CDM, position which is something he prefers. According to a recent article on DC United’s web page, Simms blossomed when playing behind Christian Gomez as a defensive midfielder. Hopefully, that will happen again when he plays behind De Rosario. So far, it has worked and the entire team has looked sharper.
In the injuries department for this week, DC currently has nine players listed on their injury report. Many are the same as last week, however United unfortunately added rookie striker Blake Brettschneider to the list after he sustained a concussion during the closing minutes of last week’s match against New York. According to various reports, he could not remember anything from the NY match after it had ended. If his concussion is like any of the others sustained this year, he could be out for awhile. To be honest, that was extremely unfortunate since he has had a fantastic season so far and has really made strides since preseason. Hopefully he won’t be out for too long.
With DC on a roll, and Dallas looking to rebound off a loss to Real Salt Lake, I look for this match to be a good one. The defense will have to be wary of Shea who probably the biggest threat for FC Dallas on the field. If they can hold Shea, then DC should be able to walk out of the match with three more points.
(image courtesy of dcunited.com)