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Supporters who have followed Dallas well, and even the fair-weather ones who may have realized their team was first place in the league until May 2013 are bewildered by the team’s freefall. Summer was as unkind to the team’s win column as it is to the scorched earth surrounding Toyota Stadium. Nonetheless, FCD’s exploits in the beginning of the season have at least put the team in a position to possibly enter the playoff race. The high heights of early season success have been tempered with a sizeable losing streak and an inability to replicate the FCD form of March, April, or even May for that matter.
Spirit, form, and quality of a spring since passed must come alive tonight in Frisco. The step back that was the away match in New York has to be put behind (even though that solitary draw and point would have been just enough). Another team in need of a playoff-saving victory visits Dallas today: the Columbus Crew. Salt Lake did Dallas a favor beating Vancouver last night. A Dallas victory will send Hyndman’s side two points of the Whitecaps, but still two points behind fifth placed Colorado.
Inconsistency down the stretch (not to mention the summer winless streak) has plagued FCD. Superb offensive displays against conference rivals such as Vancouver have seen turgid, toothless successive performances, such as in New York. Squad selection has varied during this time for Dallas, but Hyndman still seems like he is tinkering and has been ever since the summer winless streak. Despite making it out of the woods only four games remain and it seems like ideas have run dry. I’m ready to eat some crow tonight with Columbus in down, and will gladly do so, but there is the overarching notion that ideas have run dry in Dallas.
Columbus will not be walk in the park today. Federico Higuain may be the most complete attacking package, outside of Diego Valeri, in MLS. His new, but effective, partnership with Dominic Oduro has put the Crew in contention for the playoffs for yet another year. Columbus’ defense is where they falter. They rarely hold a shutout and have employed a second string keeper for a good recent stretch in 2013.
Overall, FCD must win at home. The opportunities to host any winnable games are running out, this being the first of three final home games for FCD. A victory will put them within striking distance of fifth-placed Colorado, and hopefully confident enough to take on RSL away next week. It would be nice to see a better use of Mauro Diaz, since he has fallen silent in his super sub role the past couple of weeks. Could the roles between he and David Ferreira possibly be reversed? Regardless, Dallas’ attack must push forward and offer some breathing room for George John, Raul Fernandez, and the beleaguered FCD defense, who have shed two own goals in three weeks. This match is simply a must win, and Dallas need confidence now to carry them through any type of playoff push, and hopefully later a playoff run.