Chivas USA conclude 2014 play against FC Dallas on Sunday, when they host the Texas side looking for a win to knot the season series between the teams. Ahead of the game, we've caught up with Brian Wachholz of SB Nation FC Dallas blog Big D Soccer once more to find out the latest on the Goats' opponents. Thanks to Brian, as always, for his time in answering our questions!
The Goat Parade asks Big D Soccer:
1. FC Dallas seem like they've found a gem in rookie Tesho Akindele. Tell us about him, and how he's been doing lately.
Before the draft, we didn't have a real clear indication of who FC Dallas was going to go after. A new coach and new president, we didn't have a track record either. FCD traded up in the draft order to snag Tesho, a product of Division II Colorado School of Mines. We had to believe this random selection must be based on Oscar's experience in Colorado near Tesho's school. We were perplexed, but we were all still on such an Oscar Pareja high having only hired him the week before that we didn't care. The mantra was, "in OP we trust."
Oscar had great success with a young team in only 2 seasons in Colorado, and he is largely responsible for the success the FCD Academy has had before that departure to the rocky mountains. We hoped that OP's proximity to Tesho in Colorado meant he knew something about the striker that we didn't. It looks like he did based on performance. Tesho has really started clicking with Blas Perez. Both players are performing better than when either has been on the field alone. Last season, Hyndman tried really hard to make a Cooper/Perez tandem work in a 4-4-2. It never came together, so we are excited in North Texas to see Blas flying alongside a youngster with a bright future. Tesho's mind works fast; he is mature for his age. He makes good runs and provides enough support to Blas to pull defenders away while still being dangerous under pressure. He'll be a definite threat this weekend.
2. Dallas are unbeaten in their last six league matches. What's been the secret(s) to the recent run?
Chemistry and biology. Chemistry because Tesh and Blas are clicking; Escobar and Castillo are clicking; Zach Loyd, after a bit of a slump, is regaining form that made him a fan favorite at FC Dallas; and our Homegrown Players in midfield and defense are putting on good performances, fitting in with a team that they could only hope to play with in seasons past. I say biology because a couple of players are finally returning from injury. The big news being that Mauro Diaz is back in action, having recovered from that knee injury in the spring. Also getting close to 100 percent again are Michel, Jair Benitez, and Matt Hedges.
For a season long breakdown, Steve Hunt at the Dallas Morning News put together an interesting chart listing just how many games have been missed (hint: it's a lot!).
3. Last year, Oscar Pareja's Colorado team dealt with massive injuries, but still rose above it to make the playoffs with a very young group of players. This year, Dallas is dealing with a plethora of injuries under Pareja, and still coming out of it pretty well. Do you think the injury issues are a coincidence, or is there something to Pareja's methods that are leading to so many players going down?
I don't think Pareja has anything to do with it. Injuries were a massive concern for FC Dallas in 2 of the past 3 seasons while he wasn't even in Texas. If you take a look at the chart that Dallas Morning News put together that I referenced above, you can see the multitude of injuries and try to discern a pattern. I am not in any way knowledgeable to say if there is anything that FCD should be doing differently. This may be a string of bad luck; however, it seems to have become a recurring theme with real consequences on the field. I think FC Dallas has to take some sort of action. Maybe FCD needs to review and invest more in the physical training department. The team has a strong connection with the Michael Johnson Performance Center in Dallas; they may already be on the right track.
4. (Bonus) Prediction for this match?
I think FC Dallas will be motivated to break the road winless streak after Western competition earned a whopping 1 point in 3 games midweek. I'm going to guess a 3-1 win to FCD. Cubo Torres scores the lone Chivas goal.
Projected lineup: Raul Fernandez, Moises Hernandez, Matt Hedges, Stephen Keel, Zach Loyd, Victor Ulloa, Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz, JeVaughn Watson, Blas Perez, Tesho Akindele
What do you think? Leave a comment below!