FC Dallas continues a five match road trip in Kansas City after a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact. Sporting and Dallas faced off earlier this season, a match in which FC Dallas downed Kansas City 3-1 with a double from Blas Perez, and a finisher from Fabian Castillo. This a new Kansas City team though, even with the injuries they are facing (6 players listed as questionable; Marcel De Jong, Dom Dwyer, Roger Espinoza, Chance Myers, Jacob Peterson and Seth Sinovic), they should be a stout opponent for FC Dallas to duel with.
Sporting has scored 10 goals in their last five games, and the Dallas defense with swapping between Walker Zimmerman and the injured Zach Loyd, have given up 5 goals in their last five games. Partick Nemeth was called up to the Hungarian Senior National Team for Euro 2016 qualifiers for his efforts. Loyd was available in the last match against Montreal, but he was held out by Oscar Pareja so he had the maximum amount of time to recover from his injury.
Loyd would have been help, but the two goals would have still happened as one was a penalty on a foul committed by Moises Hernandez, and the other was great skill from Jack McInenry. If he starts, Loyd could be a big help to get back into the line-up against the very physical Sporting Kansas City.
Sporting has committed 150 fouls over the course of 2015. This could spell trouble for Mauro Diaz, who was fouled 8 times by the Montreal Impact, and it was very obvious they were tactical fouls.
Referee Dave Gantar will have to read the direction the game is headed. If Diaz is getting fouled by the Sporting Kansas City men, and obviously tactically, yellow cards will have to be issued. Gantar has issued 8 yellow cards and 3 red cards on 79 fouls in 3 matches officiated in MLS this season. Gantar could end up being a benefit to Dallas, and if the fouls stop, Diaz can finally work his magic in the midfield. As one of his chances produced early in the Montreal match was a result of him finally not being fouled and being able to pass the ball to Castillo who forced Evan Busch to make a save.
Je-Vaughn Watson and Moises Hernandez have to get involved in the attack more down the wings. When the outside backs got involved, good things happened last weekend. Dangerous balls were played into the box, and won Dallas a few corners on the night. To beat a physical Sporting defense, they have to take the attack to the outside. People will realize how much Watson and Hernandez mean to this team in attack when they are gone on Gold Cup duty.
FC Dallas may have to get the ball in the air and try to find Blas Perez in the center. FC Dallas has been good at this all season as they lead MLS in crossing accuracy from open play by connecting 29.% of their crosses. Dallas will look to add to their 18 goals, which leads MLS. This is why I pin Michel to start once again for the missing Kellyn Acosta. He proved to help last week against Montreal. The physical Sporting defense is no joke, as they have conceded the least amount of shots on target in MLS. After Castillo sat out at practice on Thursday with an undisclosed injury, he will be a game-time decision. Castillo has generated 31 shots, the most on the team ahead of Perez (19).
This will be no easy task for FC Dallas, especially on the road. Sporting are a different team than the one FC Dallas beat earlier this season, and Dallas did not help themselves by not getting some points on the road at Montreal. Obviously FC Dallas can be dangerous, but can they out physical Sporting? If Sporting goes with the “Hack-a-Diaz” approach this could get ugly. It is very possible we see new signing Rolando Escobar to help lighten his load. FC Dallas will have to really sink their heels in, and try break down Sporting with quick movement, but be ready for the counter.