Ahead of Wednesday night’s Philadelphia Union match at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, we reached out to our friends at Big D Soccer and asked managing editor Drew Epperley about Dallas’s recent run in form.
1.) FC Dallas is coming off of an impressive 4-1 win (albeit that it was against San Jose). Do you think this gives Dallas an energy boost ahead of its homestand on Wednesday?
Yeah, there should be a bit of a boost considering it was just the third time in the last 12 games that they’ve scored more than once in a game. We’ve seen so many times over the course of the summer that this group gets an early goal but then struggles to find the back of the net a second or third time. Then they give up a late goal as they’re trying to hold on for dear life. Against San Jose, they scored early and often in the first half, which was a relief. They were able to dictate the pace of the game a bit more and control the midfield flow while allowing San Jose to get a little more of the ball, this led to more counterattack chances that, in the end, resulted in goals.
2.) After a brief goalless streak of four games, Jesus Ferriera got back on the scoresheet with a brace against the Quakes. How has he looked throughout the season, and what do you expect his form to look like through the duration of the season?
One can only hope this kind of form continues for Ferreira as it means he’ll likely be going to Qatar come November. But in all seriousness for this season with FCD, seeing his brief scoreless drought end was a relief. This is the kind of thing we’ve come to learn from him this season though, as he’s still adapting into a #9. The fact that he’s only 25 games or so into his first season in this role and he’s got 14 goals and a few assists to go along with it, is truly remarkable. He’s on pace to end up with the best goal-scoring mark in a single season for anyone at FC Dallas.
But really, the key for Ferreira staying hot is having guys like Paul Arriola, Alan Velasco, and now the likes of Paxton Pomykal and Sebastian Lletget helping him out. If that group can stay active on the pitch together in the attack like they did against San Jose, they’ll find the back of the net plenty more this season.
3.) After being in the conversation for the Shield early on, Dallas, along with everyone else, has fallen to the side as LAFC looks to set another points record. What is the team’s current ceiling i.e. MLS Cup, Western Conference Final, etc.?
Their early-season form was truly enjoyable to watch but there were certainly moments where we knew some holes were poking through and teams would catch up. Thankfully, unlike previous seasons, the bottom didn’t fall out when things began to go a bit south in the summer. Are they an MLS Cup contender? I doubt it. This group hasn’t really proven over the years that they can make a deep run in the playoffs and for the most part, they’re really inexperienced in that setting. I think most fans at this point believe this is at least a playoff team and one that could potentially make a run if the bracket goes their way. They’ve had some lucky bounces so far this year but I wouldn’t expect anything beyond maybe a trip to the conference finals.
4.) Will Dallas have any notable absences on Wednesday? What are your lineup and score predictions?
Right now there are only a couple of minor absences on the roster, including veteran defensive midfielder Facundo Quignon. I would imagine we’ll see a bit of a rotated roster for this one given the weekend turnaround for the club as they head to Nashville.
Estevez will possibly shift to a 4-4-2 like we saw recently against LA but he could also stick with the 4-3-3. I think we’ll get something like this:
Paes; Farfan, Martinez, Hedges, Twumasi; Cerrillo, Pomykal, Ferreira; Arriola, Jara, Velasco
Given the quick turnaround, a 1-1 draw feels about right for both sides.