We are pretty excited about tonight’s Lineup Prediction and Match Analysis, in large part due to the good work of Fletcher Whiteley this week (HERE and HERE), along with Clay Massey’s Match Preview. Frankly, we have held back a little in our predictions until now for a few reasons, mostly to make sure we were seeing what we thought we were seeing, and now, we feel good that we have it bracketed.
Of course, late injuries like the one to Matt Hedges happen, and Oscar Pareja works hard to mix things up in practice, so this is not a guaranteed lineup, but we do think this is pretty dialed in.
Chris Seitz in goal. There have been some grumblings about a team that has given up 9 goals in the last two games, but (A) few of those are clearly attributable to Seitz, and (B) Dan Kennedy is still working his way back into fitness in any case.
Moises Hernandez at left defense. The more we look at it, the more it appears the Seagoville product’s substitution at half of the last Rapids match was a tactical switch to bring on an attacker in Harris and not a reflection on Hernandez’s performance. And his early pass to set up Castillo last week was sublime.
Matt Hedges and Zach Loyd at central defense. Duh.
JeVaughn Watson at right defense. He seems to have settled into the position and Harris appears to be the jack of all trades coming off the bench.
Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta at holding midfield. With another move further up field, Michel’s set piece skills appear to be surplus services. Ulloa maintains his spot and Acosta gets his second chance to show his stuff.
Fabian Castillo at left wing. Double duh.
Mauro Diaz at attacking midfield. It might seem a little premature to throw him fully into the starting lineup without any time to work his way back into match fitness, but based on his work during the week, Diaz is back with the 1s and looking motivated.
Ryan Hollingshead at right wing. The UCLA product earned the start over Tesho Akindele last week and did nothing to lose it. In fact, Hollingshead was a key part of the early onslaught against Toronto last week.
Blas Perez at forward. The Panamanian was back to his old self last week and scored a poacher’s goal to give Dallas a 3-0 lead.
It will be interesting to see how long Diaz plays, especially on the road at altitude, but obviously, if the Midfield Maestro can get back to being all that he was in 2014, this is a moment of particular importance for FC Dallas.
This is pretty simple – last time the teams played, Colorado was motivated to not be a record-poor team, but also by the open mouth of JeVaughn Watson. Throw in some particularly good tactical efforts by the Rapids and you have a 4-0 home defeat for Dallas.
Now, the desperation for the Rapids is gone, but the motivation is there for Dallas. Add in the insertion of Diaz and if Dallas can stay motivated and focused, this might be the result we were expecting in Dallas.
On the other hand, it has been quite some time since the team has played a 4-2-3-1 with Diaz so will they be on the same page? And how sharp will the Argentine be? For how long?
Lots of moving parts in this one and as we have seen often enough this season, Sports Happens. So if you didn’t make the drive, tune in and let’s see how this bad boy plays out.
As for a prediciton, we are thinking there are too many things (Diaz sharpness, altitude), and Colorado is too professional to let things get out of hand. Simply put, winning on the road in MLS is not easy, so barring something spectacular, this one ends 1-1.