You’re hearing this correctly. For the first time in 2012 FCD can claim a win streak: two Western Conference foes faced, two downed. Wednesday’s victory in the Great White North against Vancouver was ideal. A Dallas side that was Brek Shea-less (and de Guzman-less for that matter) took it to the once high-flying Whitecaps. It was also a shutout, the first on the road for Dallas this year, and should do nothing but induce confidence amongst the squad as they head into Salt Lake.
For those that quashed Dallas’ playoff hopes weeks ago: you’re almost justified. FCD are one two-game collapse away from ruining minute playoff prospects some still cling to dearly. Out of the next eight matches, six of them will be played against teams currently ranked higher than Dallas. Despite the team’s inability to close out matches during the first half of the 2012 season the team is still actually “in it.”
A Vanquished Vancouver
The win in Vancouver was nothing short of FCD’s best performance of the season. Two great goals, one of which from a homegrown rookie, a shutout, a ROAD shutout, 80% pass completion rate, and a strong plus-300 passes attempted all point to a grand success in Canada. Benitez slid into Brek Shea’s role on the left wing fluidly, Ferreira was simply a warrior in midfield, and the back four performed systematically better than they have all season.
“Our game plan going in was that there’s not many games left so we knew that we had to get three points, ties aren’t good enough anymore,” said defender Zach Loyd. “We came in here wanting to bring the game to them and to possess the ball and set the tempo early and I thought we did a good job of that. Everyone from the forwards to the backline did a really good job.”
To Fortress Rio Tinto
But RSL provides the same difficulties it always has for Dallas. Hyndman’s side was struck down by a late Nat Borchers goal in stoppage time to deny the side a well-earned 2-2 draw back in May. A win tonight would tie the series at 1-1-1 for the season.
Fortunately for Dallas, Salt Lake has been dreadful in the past ten games, let alone the last five. In ten games Kreis’ side has managed a 3-6-1 record, and a 2-3-0 record in their last five. It is worth noting that their two wins in the past five matches have come at home: a 2-0 win against Colorado, and a 2-1 against Vancouver. Things are slipping for RSL, but they can take comfort in their fortress at Rio Tinto.
FCD, however, was unlucky to not have drawn 1-1 at Rio Tinto in May. Given the fact that starting lineup did not feature David Ferreira, George John, or Julian de Guzman the prospects are providential for Dallas.
It also didn’t feature a Fabian Castillo alongside David Ferreira, a relationship that has been budding since the Columbian’s return to the pitch. Ferreira has a goal and five assists in five matches; Castillo has two goals and an assist in his last two. With Brek Shea returning from his outstanding stint with US National Team duty, FCD will be intent on winning. They will have to: the season hinges on every match from here to the end.
Once again, six points earned on a difficult Western Conference tour in LA, Salt Lake, and Vancouver would be remarkable. The playoffs are still reachable, but only if FCD continues to pick off their conference rivals.
Probable lineup (FC Dallas): Hartman; Loyd, John, Hedges, Benitez; Shea, Ferreira, Hernandez, de Guzman, Castillo; Luna
(image courtesy of fcdallas.com)