Predicted score: 2-0 Dallas. The team needs to bounce back from a rough string of results and will look to take advantage of a vulnerable Union defense.
Opposite View: Three Questions With Big D Soccer
This week we sit down with Brian Wachholz of Big D Soccer, SB Nation's FC Dallas blog, about our annual match up with FCD.
tBG) FC Dallas is known for their academy's ability to produce MLS-level talent. To what do you attribute that, and how has that helped the club in terms of on-field results?
BDS) North Texas has long been a hotbed for youth soccer talent. There are several club teams that have been very successful at the youth level for more than a generation. The annual Dr Pepper Dallas Cup has hosted stars from all over the world for over 30 years. Players like Wayne Rooney, Michael Bradley, Chicharito, Rafa Marquez, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Jermain Defoe, and Brian McBride have all participated and gone on to very successful careers domestic and abroad.
By the time that FC Dallas established a youth academy, the talent was already there, waiting to be plucked - waiting to be given a route into professional soccer. Oscar Pareja has actually been a huge influence in the academy. He was the director for many years after retiring from playing and before becoming a first team coach. This has eased the transition for many of Dallas' homegrown players now that OP has been granted the helm of FCD. Players like Victor Ulloa, Kellyn Acosta, Danny Garcia, and many others played under him at the youth levels. They are getting chances now because the trust is there on both sides, coaching and playing. Lucky for us, the players are living up to expectations.
tBG) Dallas was very busy during the transfer market, parting ways with Jackson and Kenny Cooper while acquiring DP's David Texeira and Andrés Escobar among others. How have these moves impacted the club?
BDS) These moves were about retooling the club with some different options. FCD had a pretty set system for a few years, and the time had come this past offseason to try something different. Escobar and Fabian Castillo know each other from the Colombian U-20 national team and Deportivo Cali club team. They are good friends who played together for years, so the thought was that they could collaborate to terrorize MLS defenses pretty quickly. This idea has been lagging due to Escobar's early season back injury, but the two young Colombians have combined well in recent matches. David Texeira was brought in to boost our striker stable also. He had success in the Dutch Eredivisie before coming stateside. Tex also has battled some injury this season, but he has shown well when he played in 2014.
FC Dallas got to MLS Cup in 2010 on the back of a strong defense. For several years, the team has not been scoring enough, so the roster was adjusted to try to fill that gaping hole. Perez can't do it all himself, and there were a few people occupying key forward spots and couldn't produce.
tBG) Since the Union doesn't play Dallas very often, can you give our readers a sense of what to expect from FCD?
BDS) Despite a few injuries, you will see a fit team. Expect a lot of running, and expect FCD to be comfortable in the heat. Set piece performance and flank play is important for Dallas' offense. There will always be at least one if not two defensive midfielders working to clog passing lanes and win the ball back before the defensive third.
Unfortunately discipline has been an issue this year. I'm not sure what OP is doing to stomp it out, but FCD is riding a record wave of 8 red cards halfway through the league campaign (the previous record was 7 red cards for a full season). I'm never surprised by a red card anymore.
Fan support for FCD has been growing steadily since 2010 which is great for a team that was ridiculed for poor attendance in the earlier days of MLS. The SGs are better organized and have been stepping up their game since the Union last visited. July 4th will a packed house. The holiday game has become a tradition for the club, making it a huge draw in North Texas including a gigantic fireworks show at the end for those in attendance. Hopefully there are fireworks on the field as well!
Predicted lineup: Chris Seitz, Jair Benitez, Matt Hedges, Stephen Keel, Zach Loyd, Adam Moffat, Victor Ulloa, Je-Vaughn Watson, Michel, Blas Perez, Andres Escobar
Mauro Diaz and Hendry Thomas will be back on the bench from long term injuries, but they will play very limited minutes if at all this week.