FC Dallas takes on Sporting Kansas City tonight in the Hoops' first visit to Livestrong Park. Dallas will definitely be looking to replicate their recent CONCACAF Champion's League play in an attempt to get the three points tonight as the last match between these two sides found the Hoops losing 4-1 at home to a Kansas City side that looked much stronger and organized overall.
Dallas is coming off of yet another CONCACAF Champion's League victory over Toronto FC, a 1-0 victory at BMO Field that was originally postponed at the half due to inclement weather. Dallas would go on to win the replay the next day 1-0 on a goal from newcomer Jack Stewart.
Dallas' recent league play leaves much to be desired though.
Sitting in third place in the Western Conference, Dallas has won only two matches out of their last five, against Toronto and Chivas USA. Their current three game streak saw them barely pull out a tie against a Philadelphia Union side who benefited greatly from the ejection of George John, whose highly touted move to Blackburn Rovers still has yet to come.
Many would contribute the recent dropping of points to the loss of George John, and this very well might be true. In past matches the defense has not looked as in-form as before John's red card and subsequent trade talks popped up, and if Dallas is to succeed tonight that will have to change.
Sporting Kansas City on the other hand has only lost one match of their last five and has been looking good recently. The combination of C.J. Sapong, Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury has proved to be quite effective for them and Graham Zusi, who scored two goals in their 4-1 win over Dallas earlier this year, is having a great season as well in the midfield.
In order for Dallas to get the three points tonight, their No. 1 goal should be taking apart the great linkup between Bunbury, Kamara and Sapong. Those three, combined with the Kansas City midfield, are dangerous when allowed to gel together and do their work unimpeded. The Dallas midfield and defense will need to step it up and keep those three from being able to connect or else they will suffer. Lots of eyes will be on Andrew Jacobson tonight as he will likely be filling in for George John at centre-back.
Up front, Dallas will want to rely on their speed and athleticism. Brek Shea and Maicon Santos will provide plenty of attacking power, and with Martin Chavez behind them, look for them to come out of the gate and look to overpower the defense with their speed and creativity. Possession will also be crucial, and I expect that the team who can dominate possession will pull out the win.
If Dallas can get on the ball early and maintain an attacking spirit throughout the match, as well as dominate possession, I feel like they will be able to leave Livestrong Park with the desperately needed three points tonight.
FC Dallas Starting XI: Hartman, Benitez, Ihemelu, Jacobson, Hall, Hernandez, Guarda, Shea, Villar, Chavez, Santos
Bench: Seitz, Warshaw, Ulloa, Stewart, Jackson, Wiedeman, Luna
Sporting Kansas City Starting XI: Nielsen, Sinovic, Besler, Cesar, Myers, Espinoza, Zusi, Bravo, Sapong, Bunbury, Kamara
Bench: Kronberg, Harrington, Aiyegbusi, Collin, Diop, Arnaud, Saad