Chivas USA are facing a repeat opponent for the first time this season, as they head to Frisco, Texas once more to take on FC Dallas Saturday. The teams have had eerily similar starts to this season as they did last year, as they came out of the gate well before struggling as the season wore on. In both cases, the swoon has happened sooner than in 2013. Still, both sides are looking to write a new script for 2014, and that continues with this game. In order to discuss what's happening with FCD, we welcome back Brian Wachholz of SB Nation FC Dallas blog Big D Soccer to talk about his team ahead of the match. Thanks to Brian for answering my questions!
The Goat Parade asks Big D Soccer:
1. FC Dallas are now without Mauro Diaz and Hendry Thomas due to injuries. How are they dealing with the absences in the middle of the field?
Oscar Pareja is calling up the boys on the depth chart, and they seem to be doing relatively well. Victor Ulloa has gotten the run out in defensive mid 3 times now and is making a case for a permanent position. Our defensive mid pairing seems to be different almost every week between injuries and suspensions, so we haven't had a set in stone 1-2 players who have really clicked together. Ulloa seems to be getting along with each of his partners, however. On the other side of midfield with Diaz gone, Danny Garcia, another homegrown player from North Texas, is getting the start. Danny needs more minutes to really get his feet under him, but you can see his confidence building. My main concern with Danny thus far is the number of lateral and back passes he makes. If he is to really be successful in Super Mauro's absence, we need to start seeing Danny push up the field and spark some attacks.
2. It seems like Blas Perez either runs really hot or really cold. How's the veteran striker doing at the moment?
He's cold. I think the penalty kick against Luis Robles was meant to prime his engine a bit, but he couldn't get it past the NYRB keeper. I think hot or cold is an accurate description of Perez's scoring; however, the guy never rests. His tireless work off the ball and trying to set up his teammates makes him an extremely valued veteran despite a dry spell. Be on the watch for Blas as he tries to get back into a groove. Neither FC Dallas or Chivas USA have a clean sheet in 2014, and Blas will know that going into this weekend.
3. It's Pareja vs. Cabrera, part II. Do you think Dallas will go after Chivas in the same manner that was so successful last time, or will there be some wrinkles in the game plan?
The foundation of tactics will likely be the same, but sure there will be adjustments because the starting XI will be vastly different from 2 months ago. Since our last meeting: Kellyn Acosta is injured; Thomas is injured; Diaz is injured. Stephen Keel, Jair Benitez, and Je-Vaughn Watson have all missed games for various reasons.
4. Prediction for this match?
Dallas desperately needs a win. Expect them to fight hard against a Chivas team that they expect to be vulnerable on the road. I think the Reds pull it out, 1-0.
Predicted lineup: Fernandez, Loyd, Hedges, Zimmerman, Hernandez, Moffat, Ulloa, Castillo, Garcia, Watson, Perez
What do you think? Leave a comment below!