Chivas USA face their latest test in the 2014 season on Saturday with their first road game of the campaign, this time against FC Dallas. Interestingly, these teams have notched identical records with identical scorelines through the first two games of the season, so the game this weekend should be fascinating.
In order to get us ready for the game, we welcome back Brian Wachholz of SB Nation's FC Dallas blog Big D Soccer to discuss FCD. Many thanks to Brian for taking the time to answer my questions!
The Goat Parade asks Big D Soccer:
1. The big story coming from FC Dallas heading into the season was the change in coaches. Oscar Pareja made the switch from Colorado back to Dallas. How's the Pareja era going so far, and what are the big changes he's instituted since taking over?
Pareja is making roster moves to put his stamp on this team. He is making it clear that you have to have the positive attitude and the work ethic to earn a spot on this team daily. One of the biggest changes is that OP is trusting the youth; this is something that Schellas Hyndman rarely did. In the season opener, there were four homegrown players in the 18 with two of them starting. Having so much history with this club and with FCD's youth program, OP is uniquely situated to evaluate the organization and how it can improve. Although the last match against SKC was a bit anemic, I expect you will continue to see OP's team push aggressively for goals. There will be less reliance on the defense to win games this year.
2. I see that Chris Seitz has started FCD's first two games at goalkeeper, with Raul Fernandez bothered by injury. Any indication on who will be the starter once Fernandez is healthy, and will Seitz likely feature again against Chivas?
That's hard to say. Seitz will likely play against Chivas this week. However, Fernandez is quickly regaining his health and fitness. Raul has been adamant that he hasn't come to MLS to be anyone's #2. While Chris is gunning for the #1 spot as well, I think Raul has a slight edge over him. Seitz sometimes struggles coming off of his line. Raul comes off of his line almost too often, but he has made a good habit of almost always getting the ball if he is going to make that commitment out of the goal. The wildcard here also is to see where homegrown goalkeeper Richard Sanchez lands. He is fighting for a spot with Seitz and Fernandez in training. Since he has shown so strongly at the youth level, it is only a matter of time until Sanchez breaches the bench.
3. It's a new season, with a new coach and all, but how close do you think Dallas is to playing at it's full capacity right now? They started the season well, but will they continue to climb, or have they hit something close to their top level already?
FC Dallas is maybe 80% right now? I wish I were closer to the team to make a more accurate estimation. However, I do know that we have several players returning from injury and also new players still adjusting to joining a new team and league.
Returning from injury, we have Raul Fernandez, George John, Zach Loyd, and Walker Zimmerman. We also have new players like Cobi Span, Ryan Hollingshead, Tesho Akindele, and David Texeira who've yet to see the field. OP was recently quoted as saying that this is a team of 30 players, not just 11. This is a bit of a philosophy change from Hyndman who leaned pretty heavily on his top 11-15 guys.
4. (Bonus) Prediction for the game?
Dallas will show well at home. I expect Oscar has been hammering the team all week for the lack of offensive spark in Kansas City last weekend. Although, CUSA won't be laying down. I think Dallas wins by 1, 2 if they get lucky.
You can find my answers to Brian questions here at Big D Soccer.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!