Know Your Enemy: FC Dallas
OTF’s Stephen Mangat tells you who shot J.R. and other things Dallas…
Fount of bro-wisdom Askmen.com (exhibit 1: “10 Steps to Improve the Body Part Every Man Judges You By“) has a list of Top 10 Ways to put the brakes on a relationship that starts off too fast. While most of the advice won’t be of much use to a non-idiot, it should’ve been mandatory reading for FC Dallas.
It seems that after a torrid beginning to the season, FC Dallas’s relationship with the 2013 MLS season has fallen apart. Dallas took 24 points from its first 33, but since picked up 17 from 54, which is why they’re second from bottom in the West. So get ready to have a laugh at the pain of someone else’s broken heart, as it’s time to look at the Fire’s next opponent.
PLAY OUR MUSIC!!!
Schellas Hyndman would strike a better sideline presence if he wore a karate gi. Then, every time he was angry (or happy for that matter), he could have some staff member kung-fu kick him in the crotch. I would bet my house on attendance skyrocketing if this happened. Hyndman will have his team in a 4-2-3-1.
Raul Fernandez has had a damn good season, but he’ll be on international duty. So, it’ll be Chris Seitz in goal. Seitz is a career backup (save for a disastrous season starting in Philly) and he’s nothing special.
Seitz is the source of a great chant though. Whenever he did something, the fans would scream (to the melody of LMFAO’s ‘Shots’) “Seitz! Seitz! Seitz! Seitz-Seitz-Seitz! EVERYBODY!!” Shame he isn’t that good, because the chant is fun.
The back four should probably be the team’s strength with George John, top rookie Kellyn Acosta, Zach Loyd, and Jair Benitez, but they’ve given up the second most goals in the West (and third most in the league). John hasn’t quite reached the level of last season when he went on loan to West Ham, but he’s still a solid player. To be honest, something is afoot here because this back four has plenty of cover in front of it too.
Or maybe the midfield is the source of the issues. The Dallas midfield is a combination of random Brazilians (Erick, Michel, Jackson), a not-quite-back-to-his-best David Ferreira, and good-but-not-great players (Andrew Jacobsen, Je-Vaughn Watson). Colombian Fabian Castillo features as well; sometimes up top, sometimes as an outside attacking midfielder. The play goes through Ferreira and they create enough chances to score 47 goals (middle of the pack in the MLS), but they’ve also yielded plenty of goals, which makes one wonder what the hell the defensive midfielders are doing.
Top striker Blas Perez will be on duty with Panama, so don’t be surprised to see Kenny Cooper start. Those familiar with MLS know what Cooper is capable of doing, but he’s had a disappointing season back in Dallas. This should be a good matchup for Chicago’s defenders, as Cooper relies more on brute strength and power than speed and skill.
How can Chicago win?
Throw caution to the wind
Frank Klopas likes to keep it conservative on the road. With Arévalo Rios and Joel Lindpere missing, he’ll naturally want to keep the game tight and try to win a close one. With a crap defense, this tactic is a risky one. With a win needed, Klopas should go with an attacking lineup and only one defensive midfielder.
Dallas keeps it narrow defensively and it’s not easy to play through the middle. As such, they’re a bit vulnerable on the outside, which means that Dilly Duka and Patrick Nyarko will have space to get the ball and attack. Question is, can they find the space and can their teammates find them?
Move the ball quickly up front
Chicago’s defense lacks skills and top midfielder Rios won’t be available, so no point in trying to build out of the back. Chicago’s best field players are its forwards, so get the ball up to Anangonó and Magee and play through them.
So good luck Fire fans. Philly is going to DC where they’ll probably play like bums, so this is a big chance for the Fire – which guarantees they’ll blow it!
OTF’s Stephen Mangat is a karate man and, thus, bleeds on the inside. Follow him @smangat12